Are China and the Vatican Nearing a Deal on Catholic Bishops?

Are China and the Vatican Nearing a Deal on Catholic Bishops?
Chinese Bishop Joseph Li Shan, center, walks down the aisle during a mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, March 31, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it.

A report that China is nearing an agreement with the Vatican on Catholic bishop appointments has raised eyebrows given the Communist Party’s ongoing crackdown on religion.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that momentum is building for an agreement between China and the Vatican that would see Beijing recognize the pope’s authority over the Catholic Church in China. In return, Pope Francis would recognize seven excommunicated Chinese bishops who were appointed by the Chinese government without Vatican approval. The state-run Global Times reported yesterday that a Vatican delegation may visit China before the end of the month and that there were no “disputes on issues of principle” between the two sides. The article added that “if the meeting goes well, the agreement would be signed.”

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