Pope Francis’s agreement with the communist government of China is a sign that the Church is one throughout the world, a Chinese bishop said. Source: Crux.
Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of Yan’an is one of two bishops from mainland China attending the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment.
He and the other Synod delegate, Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde, concelebrated Mass on Monday at the Rome parish of Santa Maria ai Monti with Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio.
The parish supports a charity that funds mission work throughout Asia, according to SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops’ conference.
Invited to say a few words, Bishop Yang started with the day’s Bible readings about the creation of man and woman and about Jesus’ teaching about marriage.
“Just as a family constituted by a husband and wife is always one, so is the Church, which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic,” the bishop said. “In Italy, in China or in any other country, Christ’s love is the same.”
“Pope Francis, who knows very well the situation of the Catholic Church in China, did not want to leave us, did not want to separate us from the universal Church.”
The wisdom of the Vatican’s provisional agreement with China, signed in late September, has been hotly debated: some view it as an essential step in ensuring the unity of Catholics in China with the universal Church, while others view it as an unacceptable concession to the Chinese government and a betrayal of Chinese Catholics who have risked their lives for decades by refusing to allow the government to control the Church.
Because the agreement was signed so close to the Synod’s opening on October 3, the two Chinese bishops were unable to clear an entire month from their calendars, said Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication. So although they had government permission to attend the Synod, they informed the Pope they could not stay until it ends on October 28.