That day, [Francis'] touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.
From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.
Read it all for details on the excommunicated bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and their being brought into the fold under the deal.
The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.
But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.
Let us pray for our Chinese brethren as they enter this brave new world created by the Holy Father.