Vatican announces deal with China on bishop appointments

September 22, 2018 - 5:25 am

ROME (AP) — The Vatican has announced a breakthrough "provisional agreement" with China on the appointment of bishops, an issue that for decades has caused tensions between the Holy See and Beijing.

Beijing's long-held insistence that it must approve appointments of bishops in China had thwarted improved relations between the two sides. The deal, announced Saturday at the Vatican while Pope Francis was visiting the Baltics, could help pave the way for eventual diplomatic relations and a papal trip to China.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, speaking in Vilnius, Lithuania, told reporters the aim of the accord "is not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities."

He did not immediately provide details about the deal.

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