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Politics

Vatican says China violated pact on bishops, expresses regret

A Chinese flag is seen next to the statue of Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, the first builder of church during the Ming Dynasty, at the entrance of Beijing South Catholic Church, a government-sanctioned Catholic church, in Beijing.   © Reuters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- The Vatican on Saturday accused Chinese authorities of violating a bilateral pact on the appointment of bishops by installing one in a diocese not recognised by the Holy See.

A statement said the Vatican learned with "surprise and regret" that a bishop of another city had been installed as auxiliary bishop in Jiangxi.

The unauthorized installation appeared to be one of the most serious violations of a 2018 agreement between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of bishops.

The accord, which some Catholics have denounced as a sell-out to China's Communist authorities, was last renewed for a two-year period in September. Its details are still secret.

Jiangxi is not recognised as a diocese by the Vatican, the statement said, adding that the installation did not "conform to the spirit of dialogue" that both sides had agreed to in 2018.

It said, without elaborating, that the installation followed "strong pressure from local authorities". The Vatican was expecting an explanation from Chinese authorities and was hoping that the "similar episodes are not repeated," the statement said.

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