China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs unaware of any visiting Vatican delegation
Card Pietro Parolin also appears to have distanced himself from any imminent agreement on episcopal appointments. Mgr Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, praises China, calling it an influential power that respects human dignity and the planet. For him, the critics of the Sino-Vatican agreement are "a little minority", loud “but there are not very many of them.”
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China’s Foreign Ministry has no knowledge of a Vatican delegation visiting Beijing to establish (and perhaps sign) an agreement between China and the Holy See on the appointment of bishops.
The Global Times, a newspaper linked to the People's Daily, which is close to the Chinese Communist Party, today published an article noting that “China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing on Friday that he has no information on any visiting from a Vatican delegation, adding that China and the Vatican have maintained efficient contact.”
Last Tuesday (18 September), the Global Times, citing a "source familiar with the issue", reported that Vatican delegation would come to China this time for a meeting late September and “if the meeting goes well, the agreement would be signed”.
Reports about a possible agreement between Beijing and the Holy See have been circulating for several days. AsiaNews is very sceptical about them given that China’s leaders are divided on how to deal with the Vatican in particular and religions in general.
Several publications close to Pope Francis have tried to highlight the good side of a would-be agreement and the positive repercussions it would have for the Chinese Church. Others within the Chinese Church have expressed great embarrassment since no Chinese Catholic has been involved in drafting the agreement.
Vatican Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin distanced himself from reports that an agreement was to be signed. A terse Parolin said on Thursday that he was “working on” the deal, hoping to strike it "in the not too distant future".
After all is said and done, neither a visit by a Vatican delegation nor an agreement seem imminent. Perhaps, the Global Times misinterpreted a visit by Mgr Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, who is currently in Xian for an international meeting on organ transplants.
A few months ago, he had praised China as the country where the social doctrine of the Church is applied most thoroughly, views that sparked criticism both in China and within the Church.
In his current visit, the prelate spoke to the Global Times, lavishly praising China, which he describes as an influential power that respects human dignity and the planet, a country that “has a large population with good quality people,” that “observes the common good and [. . .] has proved its ability to [perform] great missions like fighting against poverty and pollution."
According to Mgr Sánchez Sorondo, the critics of an agreement between China and the Vatican are "a little minority group of people, people who wanted to create trouble". In his view, "They are loud, but there are not very many of them."