Renewal of the Interim Agreement on the appointment of Bishops

Vatican: “Promoting the mission of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people”

Vatican News

Communiqué on the extension of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China
regarding the appointment of Bishops, 22 October 2022

After appropriate consultation and assessment, the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to extend for another two years the Provisional Agreement regarding the appointment of Bishops, which was signed on 22 September 2018 and previously extended on 22
October 2020.

The Vatican Party is committed to continuing a respectful and constructive dialogue with the Chinese Party for a productive implementation of the Accord and further development of bilateral relations, with a view to fostering the mission of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people.

Summary of the article published in Vatican News

The first is that, like the Agreement, since September 2018 all the bishops of the Catholic Church in China have been in full communion with the Successor of Peter and there have been no more illegitimate episcopal ordinations. The second fruit is the first 6 episcopal ordinations that were carried out in the spirit of the Agreement and according to the established procedure that leaves the final and decisive word to the Pope. The third fruit is that in this time the first 6 ‘clandestine’ bishops have also obtained registration and thus their position has been made official, being recognised as bishops by public institutions. Therefore, it must be emphasised once again, if appropriate, that the heart of the Agreement certainly has to do with the consolidation of a good institutional and cultural dialogue,

In these four years, there have been 6 new episcopal ordinations since the Provisional Agreement. At the same time, we are aware that there are still many vacant dioceses and others that have very elderly bishops. There are also dioceses where the path of reconciliation, so much desired by Pope Francis, is marking time. Finally, there are dioceses where, despite efforts and good will, a fruitful dialogue with local authorities is not possible.

We sincerely hope that in the next two years we will be able to continue to identify good candidates for the episcopate for the Church in China according to the established procedure. The ultimate goal of this journey is for the ‘little flock’ of Chinese Catholics to advance in the possibility of living a Christian life serenely and freely, made up of the proclamation of the Gospel, solid formation, joyful celebration of the Eucharist, as well as a laborious witness of charity, to be close to those who have more difficulty in facing life, as happened during the difficult time of the pandemic.