Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 / 16:45 pm
A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to China "in late September" for a final round of talks before an agreement on the appointment of bishops is signed.
Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the matter,” the Global Times, an English-language newspaper that reflects the position of Chinese authorities, said that “there are no 'disputes on issues of principle' between the two sides, and since the meeting between the two sides was previously held at the Vatican, the Vatican delegation will come to China this time for a meeting in late September, and if the meeting goes well, the agreement would be signed.”
“A Vatican source also confirmed with the Global Times last week that a prominent figure from the Holy See would probably come to China in late September,” the newspaper reported.
The Global Times also quoted Wang Meixiu, who is presented as “an expert on Catholic Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,” saying that “China and the Vatican most likely agreed that the future bishops in China should be approved by the Chinese government and mandated by the Pope and the letter of appointment would be issued by the Pope.”
“Before signing the agreement,” according to the Communist party-run Chinese newspaper, “the Holy See would deliver an official document to acknowledge seven Chinese bishops who are regarded as 'illegitimate' by the Vatican, including some it previously had excommunicated.”
“The Chinese will receive a Vatican delegation by the 'end of September' to take one final step towards an agreement between the People's Republic of China and the Holy See, according to a source close to the Chinese Communist Party,” the newspaper added.
Wang is quoted as saying that “one should not expect to solve complicated problems the Catholic Church in China faces today with one agreement,” and that the two sides “still need further discussions on the complex situation in the different dioceses in the Episcopal selection.”
According to the Global Times, Chinese government sources have “stressed that the ongoing negotiations will stay on the religious level, and will not touch on any diplomatic issue such as the establishment of diplomatic ties between Beijing and the Vatican.”
The Vatican is one of the last 17 states in the world that recognizes the government of Taiwan, an island led by a democratically-elected government since 1949. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a renegade Chinese province.