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Pope Francis Announces Vatican-China Commission’s Authority to Choose Bishops

Pope Francis has announced that the Vatican has established a joint commission with the Chinese communist regime to appoint bishops for China’s Catholic churches. According to Catholic News Agency, the Vatican’s relations with China are “very respectful” and the commission, which is presided over by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, is doing a good job. The Pope emphasized the importance of understanding each other’s cultures and values, stating that the Church does not reject Chinese culture. In 2018, China and the Vatican reached a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops, but the details of the agreement have not been made public. The Vatican recognized the Chinese government’s appointment of Bishop Shen Bin in Shanghai, causing criticism from Cardinal Parolin for not involving the Holy See in the decision. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has asserted control over the appointment of all bishops in the Roman Catholic Church in China and established the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) to represent Catholics in the country. The CCP has removed the Vatican’s power to appoint bishops and Chinese Catholics were told that bishops should be elected through the CPAC according to Beijing’s “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” policy. The CCP’s Sinicization agenda, aiming to force religions to adopt Chinese communist ideologies, has faced criticism for religious repression. The CCP has committed persecutions against various religious groups, including Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners, deteriorating religious freedom and the human rights situation in China. There have been reports of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience by the CCP, particularly targeting Falun Gong practitioners.

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