Pope Francis says it takes a century to understand China and that it will take “an eternity” for Beijing to advance in its relations with the Catholic Church in the world’s fastest-growing diocese, according to a report in the Italian newspaper Avvenire, which is close to the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is responsible for the Vatican’s relations with China.
The Vatican and China have a commission that meets regularly to discuss the appointment of bishops in China.
Pope said that there is a Vatican-China commission that is slowly making progress. He said that the Chinese side is moving slowly.
The agreement, signed in 1998 and renewed in 2020, will expire next month.
He said that the path to mutual understanding with Beijing involves discussions and that they have an eternity to advance and are a people of infinite patience.
Officials from the Vatican visited China between August 28 and September 2, according to a report in the Italian newspaper Avvenire.
The Vatican wants the Church in China to become one entity, instead of being split into the underground and state-controlled Church. However, leaders of the underground Church and its supporters, like retired Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong, are against this idea.
church leaders say that the agreement has led to their further suppression by the Chinese regime, and it will lead to the demolition of the underground church.
Cardinal Zen is appearing in a Hong Kong court on Sept. 19 for being part of a trust accused of illegally funding the medical and legal expenses of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Cardinal Zen is a older person who is going to have a test soon, right?… He says what he thinks, knowing that in China there are some restrictions [to religious freedom],” the pope said without adding anything else.
Some people who know about the Vatican say that Pope Francis is not saying anything to protest the harassment of Cardinal Zen and rights violations in Hong Kong and China because he does not want to make China mad and ruin the chance of having a good relationship with them.
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