VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican has renewed its secretive deal with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that allows the latter the right to select the country’s Catholic bishops, according to an Italian news outlet.
The Sino-Vatican agreement was reached originally in 2018 with heavy influence of now-disgraced former Cardinal Ted McCarrick, and was renewed in October 2022. The deal has been extended for another two years and will be reconsidered in 2024. The pact has been widely panned as harmful to the faithful Catholics of the country. Notably, in addition to allowing the CCP to determine bishop selection, it also gives Vatican recognition to the state-established and approved church, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
The Vatican delegation met with CCP representatives in late August and early September in Tianjin, in northern China.
Italian outlet Corriere Della Sera reported that the text of the deal – still confidential – “requires that the papal appointment of a bishop be communicated to the Chinese side for assent.”
Since the agreement was reached, the Vatican has appointed six bishops with the assent of the Communist party, and a handful of bishops of the underground Chinese Church have joined the Communist-approved “church.”
Despite massive criticism of the Sino-Vatican agreement, supporters of the Vatican’s harshly criticized political maneuver have taken to defending proponents of the deal and castigating opponents.
Corriere Della Sera labeled Cardinal Joseph Zen, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, as “the most tenacious opponent of dialogue.” Zen has been critical of the deal between the Vatican and the CCP. Zen maintains that it has harmed the decades-old underground Church, which would not compromise with the communist government, even under threat of grave harm.
Zen is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the CCP over what are seen as trumped up charges, and the Pope has refused to meet with him in recent years.
Steven Mosher, an expert on China, sat down with LifeSiteNews at the Catholic Identity Conference and said that the deal between China and the Vatican is harmful to Chinese Catholics because: “The religion of China in the view of the Chinese Communist Party is communism… that religion already has a pope and its pope is the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Mosher said that the official “Catholic Patriotic Association” was “second fiddle” compared to the underground Church, because “Catholics always thrive under persecution.”