Renewal of the Sino-Vatican agreement should depend on the release of two bishops

06/27/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – As the renewal date of the Sino-Vatican agreement approaches, Chinese Catholics are fighting for the release of Bishops Joseph Zhang Weizhu and Cui Tai.

The two-year agreement between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Vatican stipulates that the Chinese government will appoint bishops to be part of the official state-sanctioned Catholic Church. These appointments are then either vetoed or approved by Pope Francis.

Pressure on believers to follow and attend state-sanctioned churches has intensified since the agreement began in 2018. As a result, some Catholics have left their underground church, expressing anger. desire to attend the state-approved unified church.

In addition to believers in the underground church, bishops and church leaders have also come under scrutiny from the government. In May 2021, Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu and Cui Tai were arrested by the police. Although reports indicate that the two bishops were authorized by the pope to serve, their refusal to recognize the state-approved church put them at odds with the government. Both bishops remain imprisoned with little to no updates on their fate and/or condition.

In response to such injustices, Chinese Catholics issued an ultimatum to the government and to Pope Francis. If the two bishops are released, then the Sino-Vatican agreement could be renewed; otherwise, October will mark the end of the agreement.

Although Catholic Christians continue to respect Pope Francis, they believe the Vatican has been misled by the Chinese government.

Please pray for Bishop Zhang and Cui, and for Pope Francis to recognize the ongoing persecution of Christians in China.

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