- Jan 18, 2020
U.S. Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said Friday that the Vatican’s agreement with China on the appointment of bishops ought to be made public so that it can be evaluated.
An event held this week at the Taiwanese Embassy to the Holy See was one of the rare moments in which the majority-Buddhist nation showed its face in Rome despite keeping a low profile – a trend which has increased following the Vatican’s deal with China on the appointment of bishops last year.
In a new chapter in its relations with the Chinese government, the Vatican has issued guidelines for how bishops and priests in China can register with civil authorities while urging that “no intimidatory pressures” be put on underground Catholics in the country.
China’s ruling Communist Party continues to persecute at least half of China’s more than 12 million Catholics despite last September’s agreement with the Vatican on the appointment of bishops.
Pope Francis on Wednesday offered a shout-out to Chinese Catholics, specifically those who endure “daily trials and tribulations.” Though interpreted as a sign of the pope’s commitment to his flock in China, the greeting also comes at a time when Francis is facing increased pressure over his recent deal with the government on the appointment of bishops.
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.”