Vatican’s top diplomat defends China deal

Archbishop Paul Gallagher (ACBC)

Despite criticism of a 2018 deal with China over the appointment of bishops, a senior Vatican diplomat is optimistic the accord will be renewed. Source: Crux.

Had Rome not granted Beijing a significant role in choosing bishops, said British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, “We would have found ourselves – not immediately, but 10 years down the line – with very few bishops, if any, still in communion with the pope.”

“If we don’t begin now, that’s the future,” he said.

Archbishop Gallagher is the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States and a former apostolic nuncio to Australia. He confirmed the Vatican has proposed a two-year extension of the deal. The terms of the accord have not been made public since it’s a provisional agreement rather than a formal treaty. He said the Vatican does not yet have a response from Beijing, and that if no answer is received by the end of the month, then the deal expires.

“It would mean it wasn’t renewed,” he said, but implied the Vatican has reason to believe its proposal will be accepted: “You dip your toes in the water before you jump in,” he said.

“We’re optimistic the Chinese authorities will wish to continue the dialogue with the Holy See within the agreed terms of the accord, and we move forward,” he said, adding that under the right conditions, it would be “desirable” for the deal eventually to be made permanent.


Vatican’s top diplomat defends China deal: ‘Something had to be done’ (By John L Allen Jr, Crux)

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