US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will today visit the Vatican to protest the upcoming renewal of the Holy See’s
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will today visit the Vatican to protest the upcoming renewal of the Holy See’s 2018 deal with China.
The deal, originally lauded as a landmark achievement in advancing religious freedom within China, has recently come under harsh criticism for not only failing to meet its goals, but for allegedly assisting China’s Communist Party (CCP) in further eroding religious freedom. Hoping to unify Chinese Catholics under the CCP’s Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), the deal had sought to create mechanisms for Vatican and CCP officials to collaborate on the confirmation of CPCA bishops throughout China.
Now, as China continues to face international criticism regarding its detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, the Holy See has come under pressure to entirely drop its deal with Beijing.
Regardless, Pope Francis’ refusal to meet with Pompeo and his silence on China’s human rights abuses signal that the Vatican intends to move forward with the deal. It is likely that the Pope views cooperation with the CCP as necessary to protect the 12 million Chinese Catholics from the persecution that Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims have suffered. Still, as progress within the deal has been slow, expect the Holy See to extend the deal for one year and push Beijing on the appointment of several Vatican-approved bishops to fill China’s empty dioceses.
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