The Global Times, a semi-official Communist Party paper, reports that the purpose of the visit is the signing of an agreement between Beijing and the Holy See on episcopal appointments in China. For Taiwan’s ambassador to the Holy See, a political agreement will be hard to achieve. The meeting will touch religious issues.
Rome (AsiaNews) – A Vatican delegation is getting ready to travel to China at the end of September, perhaps to sign the long-awaited agreement on the procedures for the appointment of future Catholic bishops in the Asian country, reports the Global Times, citing “a source familiar with the issue".
There are no "disputes on issues of principle" between the two sides, writes the paper, a semi-official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. “If the meeting goes well, the agreement would be signed”.
The article stresses that the deal, allegedly agreed by both China and the Vatican, includes the canonical legitimation of seven Chinese bishops consecrated in the past without papal consent, including those who were excommunicated.
In concluding, the paper noted that the “ongoing negotiations will stay on the religious level”. Taiwan’s ambassador to the Holy See, Matthew Lee said that up to now, there is just a religious agreement between Beijing and the Holy See.
According to Lee "high-ranking officials in its Secretariat of State have sincerely assured us that this agreement on bishop appointments is aimed at handling Catholic religious affairs in China and carries no political or diplomatic connotations. We remain committed to promoting our diplomatic efforts and advancing the partnership between Taiwan and the Holy See. We hope that society will not overinterpret this development.”