After the announcement of the Sino-Vatican decision to extend the agreement, he wrote in the journal Mondo e Missions: “The recently renewed agreement between the Holy See and China is not [a peace agreement] between the two sides: it is not the end of the problems for Catholics in China, nor does it sanction religious freedom in China. It is a compromise that many violently dispute and others celebrate with excessive enthusiasm. This is not a situation that is beneficial to everyone. I think the Vatican paid a higher price than Beijing. It is an agreement that the Holy See might not have been able to do without creating other difficulties for Catholics in China. On 22 October, the Holy See and China announced that they had agreed to extend the provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops for a further two years. At the end of this experimental agreement – the expression used by the Vatican – the agreement will be either final or another decision will have to be taken. But until then, the Vatican will want to see concrete results. At the beginning of negotiations on the agreement, hackers, suspected by cybersecurity experts, of working for the Chinese state, appeared to have infiltrated the Vatican`s computer networks. Irrespective of this, the Vatican continued the talks and preferred, in its statement, to highlight the meetings between high-ranking Vatican diplomats and their Chinese counterparts. The continuation of the agreement and cooperation between the two states have led some Vatican experts to consider it a decisive step on the road to diplomatic relations with Beijing, which could mean that the Vatican would sever relations with Taiwan. The “priority objective” of the Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops in China is the maintenance and promotion of the proclamation of the Gospel in this country, the restoration of the full and visible unity of the Church. The Vatican has vehemently defended the agreement in recent weeks, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly criticized it and asked the Holy See not to renew it.
The Holy See and the Beijing government have jointly announced a two-year extension of the 2018 agreement, which expires on Thursday. Speech delivered in Milan on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first P.I.M.E. (Pontifical Institute for Missions Abroad) Missionaries in Henan, China, Cardinal Parolin noted that “misunderstandings” about the agreement emerged “because extra-marital objectives or unrelated events concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China were attributed to the agreement and even with political issues that have nothing to do with the agreement itself. , which “concerns exclusively the appointment of bishops.” For the past seven years, I have been the head of Open Doors USA, a non-profit organization that works to strengthen persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries, a seat at the forefront of religious persecution in China.