Friday, October 21, 2016

Vatican Close To Agreement With China On Appointment of Bishops

Reuters reports today that the Vatican and the government of China are close to reaching an agreement on ordination of bishops. This would end a 60-year dispute over the authority of the Vatican in which the Chinese Communist Party has appointed bishops who often are not recognized by Rome while an underground Catholic Church continues to be loyal to the Vatican.  The Vatican may be set to recognize 4 of the 8 disputed bishops appointed by China. Of the other 4, two have children or girlfriends, and two head dioceses where there is a competing Vatican-appointed bishop. Pope Francis has made the negotiations with China a priority.  The agreement under discussion would allow local clergy to choose bishops, with the Pope making the final appointment and having a veto over the choices.  A large number of vacancies currently exist in dioceses in China.  The Vatican hopes that an agreement will also lead China to recognize the 30 bishops who currently refuse to be part of the government's Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]