Three quick take-aways on the Vatican’s deal with China

Crux | 9/22/2018 | Staff
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ROME - In thinking about the deal between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops announced on Saturday, the central point to be clear on is that there’s not really much to think about.

It says something about public discussion in the early 21st century that the deal has already been described as both an “incredible betrayal” and a “positive fact for Chinese Catholics” before anyone actually knows what it contains.

Vatican - Today - Deal - Hint - Instance

What the Vatican announced today is that a deal has been signed, but no hint about what it actually contains. It’s not clear, for instance, if the Chinese government will pick a bishop from candidates proposed by the Vatican, whether the Vatican will pick from a list proposed by the Chinese, or whether the pope would have some sort of “veto power”.

All we do know is that as part of the accord, Francis has agreed to accept eight bishops who’ve been appointed by the government without Vatican approval, one of whom is now dead. A Vatican statement said that Francis did so in “hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics.”

Sort - Information - Power - Bishops - Appointments

Lacking that sort of information, it’s impossible to evaluate exactly how much power over bishops’ appointments the Vatican actually has surrendered, let alone what the long-term implications of doing so may be.

It’s also worth emphasizing that it’s been described as a “provisional agreement” subject to review, perhaps reflecting, among other things, that not everyone on the Chinese side is in a full, upright and locked position on the idea. China-watchers have long felt the ruling class is divided between moderates who support a deal, and Communist hardliners who see it threatening the party’s grip on society and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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