Vatican says China violated pact on bishops, needs clarification

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The Vatican on Saturday accused Chinese authorities of violating a bilateral pact on the appointment of bishops by putting in one in a diocese not recognised by the Holy See.

A press release stated the Vatican realized with “surprise and regret” that the bishop of one other district had been put in as auxiliary, or assistant, bishop in Jiangxi.

The unauthorised set up seemed to be some of the severe violations of a 2018 settlement between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of bishops.

The Chinese international ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The accord, which some Catholics have denounced as a sell-out to China’s Communist authorities, was final renewed for a two-year interval in October. Its particulars are nonetheless secret.

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Jiangxi isn’t recognised as a diocese by the Vatican, the assertion stated, including that the set up didn’t “conform to the spirit of dialogue” that either side had agreed to in 2018.

It stated, with out elaborating, that the set up of the bishop, Giovanni Peng Weizhao, adopted “strong pressure from local authorities”.

AsiaNews, a Catholic information company, stated Peng was secretly ordained a bishop with papal approval in 2014, 4 years earlier than the accord, and spent six months below arrest on the time.

The Vatican was anticipating an evidence from Chinese authorities and hoped that the “similar episodes are not repeated,” the assertion stated.

The deal was a bid to ease a longstanding divide throughout mainland China between an underground flock loyal to the pope and a state-backed official church. For the primary time because the 1950s, either side recognised the pope as supreme chief of the Catholic Church.

Critics, together with Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, the previous archbishop of Hong Kong, have denounced it as providing too many concessions to China.

The Vatican assertion got here a day after a Hong Kong court docket discovered Zen and 5 others responsible of failing to register a now-disbanded fund for pro-democracy protesters.

Only six new bishops have been appointed because the deal was struck, which its opponents say proves it’s not producing the specified results. They additionally level to rising restrictions on non secular freedoms in China for Christians and different minorities.

When the deal was final renewed, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, its chief architect, stated that whereas the achievements since 2018 “may seem small,” within the context of a conflicted historical past they have been “important steps toward the progressive healing of the wounds inflicted” on the Chinese Church.