By Vatican News staff writer
The Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China is bearing fruit. A new bishop, the third since the Agreement was signed in September 2018, was appointed in communion with the Successor of Peter and ordained. The news was confirmed by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.
“I can confirm that the Reverend Thomas Chen Tianhao is the third bishop appointed and ordained within the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops,” he said, in response to questions by journalists.
Bruni also added that “certainly other episcopal consecrations are expected in the future because various processes for new episcopal appointments are underway.”
Upon its expiration date at the end of September, the Provisional Agreement was extended for two more years. It does not directly concern diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China, nor the legal status of the Chinese Catholic Church or relations between the clergy and the authorities of the country. The Provisional Agreement concerns exclusively the process of nomination of bishops: an essential issue for the life of the Church and for the communion of the pastors of the Chinese Catholic Church with the Bishop of Rome and the bishops of the world.
The objective of the Provisional Agreement has always been genuinely pastoral: its purpose is to allow the Catholic faithful to have bishops who are in full communion with the Successor of Peter and at the same time are recognized by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China.