Pope Francis will accept the legitimacy of seven bishops appointed by the Chinese government, in an attempt to score a “breakthrough” deal with Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The paper said, giving a blessing to the appointments made without the pope’s input and thus, undercutting his authority in the country, could potentially ease a decades-long conflict between the Vatican and communist China, the paper said.
Francis would lift an excommunication on the bishops and accept their status.In return, Beijing authorities would be expected to give the pope veto powers on future bishop appointments, thus formally accepting papal say on the issue.
“A deal would represent a breakthrough: the first official recognition by the Communist government of the pope’s jurisdiction as the head of the Catholic Church in China,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.China’s Communist regime broke off diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1951, and later set up a parallel, state-sanctioned Catholic Church.
Government insists on appointing its bishops – normally a papal prerogative.Chinese Catholics, including pope-backed bishops, who have remain loyal to the Vatican often face harassment and imprisonment and are forced to work underground.According to the Wall Street Journal, the papal move could be announced in the spring. The Vatican was not immediately available for comment.
On Wednesday, retired Hong Kong bishop and Cardinal Joseph Zen accused the Vatican of “selling out” to China’s “totalitarian regime.”He confirmed an Asia News report claiming that a Vatican diplomat recently told two underground, Vatican-recognised Chinese bishops to retire in favour of excommunicated, state-backed prelates.
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