Pope, China in historic deal on bishops
VATICAN – Pope Francis has recognized seven bishops appointed by China as part of a historic accord to improve ties between the Vatican and the communist country.
The issue of who appoints bishops has been at the heart of a dispute since China first broke off diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1951. China has some 10 million Catholics. Pope Francis hopes the deal “will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome” and bring about full Catholic unity in China, the Vatican said.
An eighth bishop, who died last year, was also posthumously recognized by the Vatican.
Beijing has long insisted that the state must approve the appointment of bishops in China, running contrary to the Catholic Church’s insistence that it is a papal decision.(
There are at least 10 million Catholics in China.