Vatican, China sign landmark accord on appointing bishops

Vatican, China sign landmark accord on appointing bishopsThe provisional agreement, signed in Beijing by deputy foreign ministers from both sides, was announced as Pope Francis visited Lithuania on a four-day trip to the Baltic countries. It gives the Holy See a decisive role in the appointment of all bishops in a country whose around 12 million Catholics have been split between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association. The Vatican said the accord, a breakthrough after years of negotiations, was "not political but pastoral." A Holy See statement did not mention Taiwan, which the Vatican recognizes diplomatically and which China sees as a renegade province.

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