The Role of Successive Popes in the Process of Unification of the Church in China



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Communist Party of China sought to break all ties between the Church in China and Western powers. Since 1957, there have been two distinct Catholic groups within the PRC: the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, and the underground church loyal to the Vatican. This may be about to change, however, as in September 2018, the Vatican and the PRC signed a new provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops, which could lead towards reunification of the Catholic Church in China after more than sixty years of division. Not surprisingly, the agreement between the Vatican and the PRC has been the subject of much debate and dispute. Some voices are openly critical. The signing of the provisional agreement should certainly be seen as part of the Vatican’s goal to promote and establish a universal and united Catholic Church. This paper introduces the changing position of the popes with respect to the PRC. The article argues that the new agreement should not be considered an initiative solely of Pope Francis, but rather the result of numerous changes within the Vatican instigated during the papacy of Pope John XXIII.
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