Sino-Vatican deal based on pope's respect for China

Leading Catholic journalist says China Church must be fully Chinese and fully Catholic
Sino-Vatican deal based on pope's respect for China

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to lead a Holy Mass at the Shrine of the Mother of God in Aglona, Latvia, on Sept. 24. (Photo by Ilmars Znotins/AFP)

The signing of a provisional agreement between Beijing and the Vatican is founded on Pope Francis' admiration for China and the premises laid down by preceding popes, according to a leading Catholic journalist.

Father Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief of La Civilta Cattolica, said the deal on the naming of bishops is "the beginning of a composition that has yet to be developed."

In an article for the magazine, he recounts how the pope in 2015 described China as "a great nation which offers the world a great culture and so many good things. I once said as we were flying over China, returning from Korea, that I would very much like to go to China. I love the Chinese people, I wish them well, and I hope for a possibility of good relations. We do have contacts, we talk, we are moving forward, but for me, having as a friend a country like China, which has a great culture and such opportunity to do good, would be a joy."

Father Spadaro writes that the China Church should renew with vigor its mission of proclaiming the Gospel, to contribute as effectively as possible to the good of the Chinese people, with its religious message and social and charitable commitment.

"This is why it must be fully Chinese and localized, going deep in the process of inculturation, in light of the universality that belongs to Catholicism. So, fully Chinese and fully Catholic. This is the objective that the church has proposed since the period when Celso Costantini was apostolic delegate in China (1922-1933)," Father Spadaro writes.

"We should not see the agreement as a point of arrival, but as a starting point. There are no automatic guarantees the quality of Chinese Catholic religious life will improve. The challenges remain, but certainly the process of remodeling the relationship between the two parties is a positive one for Chinese Catholics."

To read the full La Civilta Cattolica article click here.

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