The Vatican justified its extension by the fact that the agreement was purely ecclesial and pastoral, not political, although it indicated that an ongoing dialogue would allow for discussion of other problems, including human rights violations. Speech delivered in Milan on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first P.I.M.E. (Pontifical Institute for Missions Abroad) Missionaries in Henan, China, Cardinal Parolin noted that “misunderstandings” about the agreement have arisen “because extra-marital objectives or unrelated events concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China have been attributed to the agreement and that it is even related to political issues that have nothing to do with the agreement in fact “exclusively concerning the appointment of bishops.” China is already breaking the agreement. Just last week, dissident Catholic priests were placed under house arrest in Jiangxi province in violation of an agreement to protect clergy from coercion. The priests of the diocese of Yujiang, who are under surveillance, were banned from carrying out “any religious activity as members of the clergy” after refusing to join the so-called “patriotic church” of the regime, and Bishop Lu Xinping was banned from celebrating Mass. Because he will be in a position he cannot escape, they will force him to do all the wrong. This fundamental doctrine on the Pope`s particular role in the Episcopal College and in the appointment of the bishops themselves has experienced the negotiations and has been a point of reference in the drafting of the text of the Agreement. Thus, little by little, the unity of faith and communion between bishops and the possibility of being fully at the service of the Catholic community in China will be ensured. From today, for the first time in many decades, all the bishops of China are in communion with the Bishop of Rome and, thanks to the implementation of the Agreement, there will be no more illegitimate ordinations. [Do you want to discuss politics with other American readers? Join our Facebook focus group, led by American authors and publishers.] The communication stated that two bishops, Monsignor Antonio Yao Shun of Jining, an autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, and Bishop Stefano Xu Hongwei of Hanzhong, in the central province of Shaanxi, had been appointed in accordance with the agreement.
Other ordinations are under way, he said, although the pandemic has slowed things down. But the disadvantages of this relationship far outweigh the benefits. Almost all diplomatic agreements can be reached at the expense of his convictions. Today, there are about 100 Catholic bishops in mainland China; Many are very old, but all are now united with the Pope because of the agreement. About 30 of them belong to the underground Church and refuse to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, so they are not recognized by the Beijing authorities. The situation of these bishops has become more difficult since the agreement, the Chinese authorities used it, contrary to Rome`s expectations, to put pressure on the clandestine bishops and priests to submit to the religious policy of the state. In September, Pompeo angered some of the Vatican`s top officials, including those negotiating with the Chinese, by publicly asking the church to halt talks with China in order to preserve its moral prestige. The fact that he chose a conservative Christian magazine that criticized the pope for expressing his abuses did not elicit much sympathy among Church leaders.