- Jan 20, 2020
Pope Francis managed an airborne diplomatic dance by sending telegrams of greetings to the leaders of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as he flew through their airspace on his way from Thailand to Japan.
Weeks after the first anniversary of the deal between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops — the first formal agreement between the two countries since the 1950s — Beijing promulgated a fresh batch of regulations governing places of worship.
The provisional agreement signed in 2018 by the Holy See and the Chinese government has “opened the way to the two most important things: pastoral activity and dialogue,” said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.
The Vatican’s top diplomat told Chinese state-run media that Vatican-Beijing talks are focused on achieving concrete results for China’s Catholics while avoiding differences between the two “systems.”
A Chinese bishop, asked to step aside by the Vatican last year, said he does not think he can concelebrate the Holy Thursday chrism Mass unless he agrees to China’s policy on the Catholic Church.
The Vatican is greeting the visit to Italy of Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week with a new round of overtures and says the “door is always open” to dialogue.