“October 2022 will see the expiration of the provisional and secret agreement between the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops, signed September 22, 2018 and renewed for another two years in 2020. It is too soon to say if it will be reconfirmed in a more stable form. Of course, what is not provisional is the overweening power of Xi Jinping, who since December has been awarded the highly symbolic title of ‘Great Helmsman,’ like only Mao Zedong before him,” reports Vatican journalist Sandro Magister in Settimo Cielo.

The report calls the Vatican’s margin for negotiation “very narrow if not non-existent,” and calls the Chinese government’s dominance over the selection of new Catholic bishops “overwhelming.” Even the Hong Kong diocese’s freedom as an exception to the 2018 agreement is in serious danger, as a meeting between Hong Kong’s bishops, government-approved bishops from the mainland and Beijing officials saw the Rome-appointed head of Hong Kong diocese dismissed after only fifteen minutes.

The delegates from the mainland insisted that Hong Kong be put completely under the policy of the so-called “sinicization” of religions, with a more marked subordination of the Catholic Church to the distinctive traits of China, those dictated by the Communist Party and the state. (Settimo Cielo and ITV)

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