On September 22, 2018, the Vatican reached a provisional agreement with the Chinese government regarding the appointment of bishops in China. This agreement marked a significant step towards improving relations between the Vatican and China, which had been strained for decades.
Under this agreement, the Chinese government would recognize the Pope as the head of the Catholic Church in China, and the Pope would have the final say on the appointment of bishops in the country. This was a significant change, as for decades the Chinese government had appointed its own bishops without the approval of the Vatican, leading to the creation of a state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Church separate from the global Catholic Church.
However, the agreement was not without controversy. Many Catholics in China and around the world expressed concern that the agreement would allow the Chinese government to have too much influence over the Catholic Church in China. Additionally, human rights groups criticized the Vatican for entering into an agreement with a government known for its human rights abuses.
Despite these concerns, the Vatican defended the agreement, stating that it would help to bring the Catholic Church in China back into full communion with the global Catholic Church and allow for the appointment of bishops who are truly committed to the Church and its teachings.
Since the signing of the agreement, there have been some positive developments. For example, several bishop appointments have been made with the approval of both the Vatican and the Chinese government, and underground Catholics in China have reported feeling more welcomed and supported than before.
However, there are still challenges to be faced. The Chinese government has continued to clamp down on religion and religious expression, and some Catholics in China remain suspicious of the government`s motives in signing the agreement.
Overall, the Vatican`s agreement with China represents a significant step forward in the relationship between the Catholic Church and China. While there are certainly risks and challenges involved, the hope is that this agreement will ultimately lead to greater unity and understanding between Catholics in China and around the world.