Pope Francis demanded freedom to announce the Catholic faith in China

Pope Francis greets people upon his arrival for the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, May 24, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (REMO CASILLI/)

He Pope Francisco today expressed his “closeness” to the Chinese Catholics and asked that it be possible announce the Catholic faith “in its fullness, beauty and freedom”in a message at the end of the general audience held in Saint Peter’s Square.

Francisco recalled that this Wednesday is the World Day of Prayer for the Catholic Church in China and sent a message “closeness to our brothers and sisters in China, sharing their joys and hopes”.

And he also sent a special message “to all those who suffer, pastors and faithful, so that in the communion and solidarity of the universal Church they may experience comfort and encouragement.”

In addition, he invited everyone to raise their prayers “so that the good news of the risen and crucified Christ may be proclaimed in its fullness, beauty and freedom, bearing fruit for the good of the Catholic Church and of all Chinese society.”

Pope Francis in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square, May 24, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, May 24, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (REMO CASILLI/)

This appeal comes after the Beijing’s unilateral decision to elect a new bishop in Shanghaithe largest Diocese in China, which would violate the bilateral pact whereby bishops are jointly appointed, an agreement reached in 2018 and extended in 2020 and 2022.

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Brunireported then that the Vatican learned of this appointment through the media.

For decades, the appointment of bishops has been a reason for discord between the two sides, as formal diplomatic ties were severed after the communist regime seized power some seven decades ago.

The agreement was an attempt to ease the division in China between state-recognized Catholics and so-called underground churches loyal to the pope.

(With information from EFE)

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