Vatican, China Expand bishop Arrangement over US Resistance

The Holy See and Beijing government collectively declared a two-year expansion to the 2018 arrangement, which died Thursday.

The Vatican warranted the expansion by stating the arrangement was only ecclesiastic and rustic, not ideology, although it noted that continuing dialogue would permit the Holy See to participate in Beijing on additional difficulties, such as human rights abuses.

In an unsigned article accompanying the statement of the elongated arrangement, the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano stated the Vatican”doesn’t fail to draw the interest of the Chinese authorities to promote a more successful exercise of religious liberty.”

The arrangement, which hasn’t been printed, envisages a process of dialog in choosing bishops. Even the Vatican signed it in 2018 in hopes it might help combine China’s Catholics, who for seven years are divided between people belonging to a formal, state-sanctioned church along with an underground church loyal to Rome.

The Vatican has defended the 2018 accord against criticism that Pope Francis sold from the underground loyal, saying the arrangement was necessary to avoid a much worse schism from the church after Beijing termed bishops without the pope’s approval.

The 2018 accord regularized the status of the two of those”illegitimate” bishops and introduced them to full communion with the pope — a key aim of the Vatican in pushing to get a deal.

The issue of bishop nominations has vexed Vatican-China connections, together with the Holy See insisting about the pope’s divine right to name the successors of the apostles and Beijing contemplating such nominations foreign infringement on its sovereignty.

Beijing foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told colleagues in a daily briefing Thursday that China and the Vatican chose to extend the arrangement”after favorable consultations.”

“The two sides will maintain close consultations and communication and continue to market the practice of enhancing connections,” he explained.

“The Holy See believes the first use of this agreement — that can be of excellent ecclesial and pastoral significance — to have been optimistic, because of good communication and collaboration between the parties on the matters agreed upon, and plans to pursue an open and constructive dialogue for the sake of the lifetime of the Catholic Church as well as the great of Chinese individuals,” it stated.

The Vatican was aggressively defending the arrangement in recent weeks following U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly criticized it urged that the Holy See to not expand it.

During a tense trip to the Vatican last month and also within an essay written before the excursion, Pompeo made apparent U.S. objections to the accord and encouraged the Vatican to combine the U.S. in rather denouncing China’s crackdown on religious and cultural minorities, Catholics among them.

In its article about the accord, L’Osservatore Romano called this criticism as coming out of a “geopolitical” standpoint whereas the Vatican’s curiosity is spiritual.

“Additionally, there’s a full sense that the dialogue between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China will prefer a much more profitable look for the common good in favor of the entire global community,” the post stated.

The Vatican has seldom, if ever, known as China because of its crackdown along with other human rights abuses, and it’s remained mum through months of protests in Hong Kong. It rarely criticizes Russia, such as fear of damaging relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.