Foreign Office hopes Vatican-Beijing deal will bolster religious freedoms in China – Reuters
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July 07, 2022
- Tomasz Koper
Taiwan’s foreign ministry hopes an agreement between the Vatican and Beijing will strengthen religious freedoms in China and bring Chinese congregations under the leadership of the pope. This was said Thursday by the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joanne Ou.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said he hoped to renew a 2018 provisional agreement between the Holy See and Beijing. The agreement regulates the appointment of bishops and confirms the pope’s position as head of the Catholic Church in China. The current agreement will have to be renewed in October.
The Vatican is one of 14 countries that maintains official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. For this reason, it has no official relations with China. This meant that Catholic churches in China were not tied to the Vatican until the agreement was signed.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said Thursday that the Holy See has repeatedly said the agreement is not political, but merely regulates matters of church administration.
Ou says she hopes the deal can advance religious freedoms in China. She says the Foreign Ministry is monitoring developments and working with the Catholic Church to protect Taiwan’s interests and the well-being of its Catholic population.