The Italian daily Corriere della Sera announced October 19, 2022, that the Holy See and China have renewed their pastoral agreement on the appointment of bishops for two years.
Signed for the first time in 2018 and renewed for two years in 2020, the historic agreement between China and the Holy See was up for renewal this month. Although only pastoral, the agreement represents a rapprochement between the two countries, which have not had diplomatic relations since 1949 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China.
Although the terms of the agreement remain secret, it allows the Pope to have the final say in the appointment of bishops in China. So far, only six bishops have been appointed in these four years.
Previously, the official Church in China – aligned with the government – would ordain bishops without papal approval.
The Italian daily reports that the provisional agreement has been extended until October 22, 2024.
In September, both Pope Francis and Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who is personally in charge of diplomacy with China, announced their wish to see the agreement extended.
A diplomatic source consulted by I.MEDIA expressed surprise that the agreement had not yet been officially signed, even though the Vatican delegation sent to Beijing to negotiate its renewal has been back in Rome for more than 10 days. The source wondered if Rome had not tried to add new terms to the agreement.