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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Chinese Catholics outside mainland divided over Sino-Vatican agreement

Catholics in Macau, Taiwan and Hong Kong are divided over the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops.

Some believe it will lead to better diplomatic relations, but others question how Beijing’s clampdown on religious freedom is compatible with a fruitful relationship with the Catholic Church, reported ucanews.com.

Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang of Macau said the agreement signed on 22nd September offers Catholics in mainland China the chance to be in communion with the universal Church.

He said the agreement was achieved through sustained study and dialogue, and he encouraged Catholics in Macau to continue their prayers for the progress of China-Vatican relations. He said he hoped “the provisional agreement could truly be implemented,” contributing to Chinese society, and that the charity, pastoral work, social services and education provided by the Church would help the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fr Otfried Chen, secretary-general of the Taiwan bishops’ conference, told Radio Veritas the agreement “is purely pastoral and is about the appointment of bishops, and is, therefore, a very internal matter of the Church but of a provisional nature.”

Picture: A man decorates at a Catholic church on 31st March, a day before Easter, in China’s Youtong village. Catholics in Macau, Taiwan and Hong Kong are divided over the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters).