China-Vatican relations

China-Vatican relations

What’s the deal between the Vatican and Beijing?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. A 2018 deal between China and the Vatican aimed to end a schism over the appointment of bishops in the world’s most populous country will expire later this month. While Pope Francis is willing to renew the pact, Beijing has yet to publicly express its intentions. The agreement aimed to resolve a split among China’s 12 million Catholics, who are split between a so-called underground church that is loyal to the Vatican and those who attend state-sanctioned churches. China under Chinese Communist Party rule has had a turbulent relationship with the Catholic
Can Pope Francis and Xi Jinping find common ground?
When Beijing and the Vatican reached a provisional agreement in 2018 over who had the authority to appoint Roman Catholic bishops in China, it signaled a possible breakthrough in a troubled relationship stretching back six decades.  It seems the signals were wrong. Details of the pact – forged after more than three decades of negotiations – have never been made public. Still, the agreement marked the communist state’s first indication it was ready to share some authority with the Pope over control of China’s Catholic Church.  The hope was the agreement would heal a rift from the 1940s, when Beijing kicked the church out of China and started an autonomous Catholic church that operates indepe
The Vatican should work with Beijing to unify Catholics
The Vatican and the Chinese government are in talks about resuming ties, which were officially severed in 1951. The major roadblock to better China-Holy See relations is the status of bishops and underground churches in China. Some bishops were appointed by Beijing, others by the Vatican, while a few have gained tacit approval from both. How these current bishops will be recognized and how new bishops are appointed are key questions. However, there are wider concerns about what these negotiations mean for Catholics in China and the Catholic Church overall. The Communist government has long been wary of religious groups, due to historical examples of churches as bases for political movements.
Meet the toughest critic of the Vatican’s China deal
Cardinal Joseph Zen is not afraid of throwing down the gauntlet. Aged 86, he is the most outspoken critic of a deal in the works between the Holy See and Beijing. Cardinal Zen has been a vocal opponent of the Chinese Communist Party for decades. During his years as the bishop of Hong Kong, he was one of the leaders of the pro-democracy movement, including during the sustained protests of 2014. The Vatican and China broke off  ties in 1951, two years after the Chinese Communist Party took over the country at the end of the Chinese Civil War.   The appointment of bishops, senior leaders within the Catholic Church, is the biggest obstacle to the normalization of bilateral ties. The agreement,
Hope and fear: the plight of underground Catholics as Vatican-Beijing deal looms
The surveillance cameras pointing at the entrance of the humble three-story building in eastern China are not enough to stop daily mass from being held at Father Matthew’s home. The priest, who spent decades in jail on account of his faith, has no assistants and uses a dining table in lieu of a proper altar. A picture of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns hangs on the wall, along with other religious paintings and statues, overlooking the congregation of 40 – mainly elderly – people. They sit on stools and kneel on mats to pray and receive communion just as they have for the last 30 years. But soon this will all come to an end. Father Matthew – not his real name – is planning to retire in si
Bishop detained ahead of Vatican-China deal
In global diplomacy, as in chess, sometimes you’ve just got to sideline your bishop. A Vatican-approved bishop in China was detained briefly by the Chinese authorities on Monday. This comes as the Holy See and Beijing work on a contentious agreement to pave the way towards normalizing relations. Bishop Guo Xijin was taken from his home on Monday and released the next day, according to AsiaNews, a Catholic news agency based in Rome. This is indeed once again an event that causes us to worry Father Jeroom Heyndrickx, member of the Vatican Commission for the Church in China Quoting local sources, AsiaNews reported that Guo had refused to concelebrate – jointly officiate – mass with Zhan Shilu,