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Vatican agreement with China likely to be renewed, archbishop says

Italian Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli said in a recent interview that while the Vatican’s relationship with China is complex, a 2018 provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops will likely be renewed.

“The provisional agreement with China expires in September of this year and we must find a formula, we must see what to do,” Celli said in a recent interview with the Stanze Vaticane program of Italian television network, TGCOM24.

Celli, a longtime Vatican diplomat and former president of the Pontifical Council for Communications, was the key negotiator of the agreement. He told the television program the tone of the Vatican’s interaction with China thus far has been one of “respect, clarity, co-responsibility and foresight.”

“We are trying to look toward the future, and we are trying to give to the future of our realizations a deep and respectful basis, and I would say that we are working in this sense,” he said, insisting that the path forward with China was outlined in Pope Francis’s letter to Catholics in China, shortly after the provisional agreement was signed in 2018.

Celli’s declaration that the agreement is set to expire and will likely be renewed is the first public information about the deal that has been provided, as the terms of the accord were never published.

As part of the original 2018 agreement, Pope Francis officially recognized eight bishops named by the Chinese government without the permission of the pope.

Read more at Crux

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