In this Sept. 22, 2018 photo, members of the faithful attend a mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing. The Vatican’s breakthrough agreement to give China some say over bishop appointments has critics accusing the church of caving in to the ruling Communist Party just as it is waging a sweeping crackdown on religion. Others say it’s an imperfect but much-needed step toward uniting Catholics in the world’s most populous country. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Vatican agreement with China draws concerns amid crackdown

September 26, 2018 - 10:16 pm

BEIJING (AP) — The Vatican's agreement to give China some say over bishop appointments has critics accusing the church of caving in to the ruling Communist Party just as it is waging a sweeping crackdown on religion. Others say it's an imperfect but much-needed step toward uniting Catholics in the world's most populous country.

The agreement is a step toward addressing the long-cherished hope of bringing together China's 12 million Catholics who are divided between those worshipping in state-sanctioned churches and the underground priests and parishioners loyal to the pope, who are frequently detained and harassed.

The specifics of the deal announced over the weekend are unknown. Pope Francis said this week that the agreement allows for a discussion with China on the naming of bishops but that ultimately the pope will decide.

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