The National Italy-China Federation, celebrating both the 10th anniversary of its founding and the vibrant festivities of the Chinese New Year, found a warm welcome within the walls of the Vatican.
Pope Francis, addressing the assembly, wished that there will be joint understanding between the Italian and Chinese communities, to enhance mutual welcome and the spirit of fraternity. This comes as the Vatican and China navigate a complex relationship, highlighted by recent ecclesiastical appointments under the 2018 Provisional Agreement.
In a significant move, the Vatican announced the appointment of Father Peter Wu Yishun as bishop of Shaowu, marking the third such appointment in China in just one week’s time.
The recent episcopal appointments and cultural celebrations at the Vatican underscore the delicate balance of faith, diplomacy, and cultural dialogue between the Holy See and China. The renewal of the Vatican-China agreement on the appointment of the bishops expires this year in October.
In additional Vatican-China news, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has created a new diocese in mainland China. This is the Diocese of Weifang, which takes its name from the prefecture-level city of more than 9 million people in China’s central Shandong province. The Vatican announced the Weifang Diocese on January 29th, the day of the consecration of the diocese’s first bishop, Bishop Anthony Sun Venjun.
In the decades since the Chinese Communist Party came to power and started to redraw diocesan lines, these diocesan borders have been an area of dispute in the Vatican and China dialogue. The pope’s elevation of the Diocese of Weifang accepts the diocesan borders redrawn by Beijing.
Adapted by Jacob Stein