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Vatican names new China bishops in diplomatic thaw

By AFP

January 31, 2024 08:52 PM


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The Vatican announced the ordination Wednesday of a bishop in China, the third in one week, marking a thaw between Beijing and the Holy See over the sensitive issue of appointments.

Pietro Wu Yishun, 59, was ordained the bishop of Shaowu city in the southeastern province of Fujian, the Vatican said in a statement.

He was nominated by Pope Francis under a historic but secretive 2018 deal allowing both sides a say in appointing bishops in Communist China.

Two other China bishops were ordained with the Vatican's approval this week in Zhengzhou, in the central province of Henan, and in a new diocese of Weifang.

This rare series of appointments suggests that Vatican-China ties are entering a period of appeasement after months of tensions.

In 2022 and 2023, the Vatican had expressed its "regrets" after the unilateral appointment of two bishops by Beijing -- including one in Shanghai, the largest Catholic diocese in the country -- indirectly accusing it of having violated the 2018 agreement.

The deal, later renewed in 2020 and 2022, is designed to bring closer together Catholics caught between the official state-backed church in China and an underground movement loyal to Rome and the pontiff as the church's supreme leader.

It also provides for greater cooperation between the Vatican and Beijing, while affording the pope the final say in the appointment of Chinese bishops.


AFP


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