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Chinese Catholics attend a mass in a church on Christmas Eve in Shanghai, China, December 24, 2018. (Aly Song/Reuters)

By Nina Shea, National Review, February 19, 2021


Having secured the papacy’s help in weakening the Chinese Catholic underground, Xi Jinping’s regime is reneging on the commitments it made in return.

Beijing has quietly indicated that it will soon abrogate its “breakthrough” 2018 agreement with the Vatican, which was meant to settle a decades-long dispute over the appointment of bishops in China.

In November, shortly after exchanging diplomatic notes verbales with Rome to renew the deal for another two years, China thoroughly negated it in a dry public posting by the state bureaucracy. Order No. 15, on new administrative rules for religious affairs, includes an article on establishing a process for the selection of Catholic bishops in China after May 1. The document makes no provision for any papal role in the process, not even a papal right to approve or veto episcopal appointments in China, which was supposed to be the single substantive concession to the Vatican in the agreement. It’s as if the deal never happened. …

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