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The Vatican-China agreement allows the Pope to to make the final selection of bishops from candidates proposed by Chinese officials (CNS/Wong Campion, Reuters)

An official who works in the Vatican office overseeing mission territories in Asia, Africa and the developing world says the Church must be “realistic” in its engagement with authoritarian governments, such as in China and Vietnam. Source: Crux.

Msgr Camillus Johnpillai, who serves as office manager for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelisation, told journalists on Tuesday that on the political level, the path the Vatican has chosen with China is among “the options we have that we can do. We can’t create another option that doesn’t exist”.

“So, we need to be more realistic in the way we engage with politicians, not only with China, but there are also other countries, like Vietnam, for example. Every country has its uniqueness, its characteristics,” he said.

Regardless of what country the Vatican is engaging with, the first step in sending someone new or creating new dioceses etcetera is that “we must always ask for the nulla osta of the government,” Msgr Johnpillai said.

“Unfortunately, we are very limited in negotiating all this, but still, the work goes forward,” he said. “Not with speed, but with a very limited progress.”

Msgr Johnpillai spoke at conference this week to mark the 400th anniversary of the Vatican office for evangelisation, Propaganda Fide, which is now known as the Dicastery for Evangelization.

The department’s competence includes oversight of Church affairs in China, including the appointment of bishops in the spirit of the Vatican’s provisional agreement with the Chinese government on episcopal nominations, the terms of which have never been made public.

Struck in 2018, the two-year agreement is believed to allow the Pope to make the final selection from a set of candidates proposed by Chinese officials. 


Vatican official says it’s important to be ‘realistic’ on engagement with China (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux)