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08/20/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On Thursday, August 18, the 10th National Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives, the most important meeting of the “official” Catholic leaders registered with the Communist Party of China, opened. 345 Catholic leaders are attending the assembly, which is tasked with dictating the agenda of the Communist party to registered Catholics in China.  

ICC reported previously on the complex relationship between the Vatican and the Communist Party. To maintain relations with China, the Vatican does allow the Communist Party to vet the bishops that are referred to the Vatican for confirmation. This arrangement was established in the Sino-Vatican agreement of 2018, a contract renewed in 2022.  

On the first day of the assembly, Bishop of Haimen Msgr. Shen Bin read a report summarizing the achievements of the last Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives, which was held in 2016. According to the report, “the Chinese Church has maintained the correct political direction, united and guided the faithful to hold high the banner of love for the homeland and religion, and preserved the principles of autonomy and self-administration of the Church. It also continued democratic administration, promoted evangelization, and charitable services, thus writing a new chapter of history.” 

Interestingly, the Sino-Vatican Agreement on the appointment of bishops, which was supposed to represent one of the most significant events that took place in the life of the Catholic Church in China between 2016 and today, was not mentioned at all during the conference.  

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