China bars Chinese bishops from traveling to see pope in Mongolia

by | Sep 1, 2023 | Religion

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (RNS) — Chinese authorities have prohibited Catholic bishops in China from traveling to Mongolia to meet with Pope Francis during his papal visit to the tiny Catholic community in this country on China’s northern border.The decision by the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party, first reported by America, the Jesuit magazine, is the latest sign of tension in the already strained relations between China and the Holy See.
Flying to Mongolia Thursday (Aug. 31) for his four-day visit, Francis issued a telegram while in Chinese airspace to the country’s president, Xi Jinping: “Assuring you of my prayers for the wellbeing of the nation, I invoke upon all of you the divine blessings of unity and peace,” the pope wrote.
In October, the Holy See and China renewed a 2018 provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops, which has been criticized for its secrecy and its apparent lack of any method to hold China accountable. In November, the Vatican accused China of breaking the terms of the agreement by naming a bishop to a diocese the church doesn’t recognize; in April Beijing appointed a new bishop to the influential diocese of Shanghai without the Vatican’s approval.
Critics of the deal, including the former bish …

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