The Sino-Vatican Agreement Will Be Renewed

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, was present at the Pontifical Urban University on the occasion of the presentation of a work dedicated to Cardinal Celso Constantini, the first Apostolic Delegate to China, on June 20, 2024, one month after the conference organized at the same university for the 100th anniversary of the first Council of the Chinese Church.

The book, titled Il Cardinale Celso Costantini e la Cina – Costruttore di un ponte tra Oriente e Occidente [Cardinal Celso Costantini and China – Builder of a bridge between East and West], was edited by historian Msgr. Bruno Fabio Pighin and published by Marcianum Press. It is a new opportunity for the Secretary of State to present his vision of the relationship between the Holy See and China.

The Pope’s Interest in China

Cardinal Parolin repeated the interest and esteem of Francis for China, citing the Pope’s words from a recent General Audience, which addressed a greeting “to the dear Chinese people,” Vatican News reports. The Pope added: “We always pray for this noble people, so courageous, who have such a beautiful culture.”

The Vatican media notes the cardinal’s commentary: “The Pope has a great appreciation indeed and does not miss an opportunity to express it towards the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. Perhaps it is because he is a Jesuit, so he has all the heritage of the past. [...] Let us hope that this path can lead to a positive conclusion.”

As for the possibility of the Pope visiting China, “The timing at the moment seems premature, but ‘if there were openness on the part of the Chinese, the Pope would also go immediately’ to China,” Vatican News reports. The cardinal “reiterated Pope Francis' never-hidden desire to one day visit the great and ‘noble’ Asian country.”

The Agreement on the Appointment 

In an interview given to journalists, Cardinal Parolin was asked about relations with Beijing. He then confirmed the renewal of the agreement: “We are trying to find the best procedures also for the application of the Agreement signed at the time and which will be renewed at the end of this year.” 

The Secretary of State of the Holy See “then reiterated his love for China in his speech in the University's Aula Magna. ‘We love and admire China, its people, its culture, its traditions, the effort it is currently making...,’ he said. ‘Truly China is close to our hearts, close to the hearts of Pope Francis and his collaborators,’” Vatican News explains.

Finally, Cardinal Parolin rejoiced in the fruits of the agreement: "As a result of the Agreement, all the Bishops in the land of Confucius are in full communion with the Church of Peter." And also that this starting point could be developed to obtain greater collaboration.

Bishops in communion, if you like, but above all bishops subject to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Should we keep that in mind? The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), founded by the CCP, was considered schismatic by the Holy See for decades. The bishops were not recognized by Rome—only the bishops of the underground Church were.

After the agreement, these “patriotic” bishops were recognized, and the clergy who were not part of this patriotic Church could join it, nevertheless without being obliged to do so. But the Association is still—and now more than ever—controlled by the CCP, directly, or through intermediary means. Incidentally, there is no lack of “patriotic” bishops who seek to oblige priests to join the CPA. And meanwhile, the “underground” clergy are still persecuted.