Responding to the questions received from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, has affirmed the following:
“I can confirm that also H.E. Mgr. Stefano Xu Hongwei, who has been consecrated today, 28th August 2019, Coadjutor Bishop of Hanzhong (Shaanxi) in China, received the Papal Mandate and his ordination also took place in the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China signed in Beijing on 22nd September 2018.”
The agreement came within the framework of the contacts between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China that had been underway for some time in order to discuss Church matters of common interest and to promote further understanding.
The Provisional Agreement, which is the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, was agreed following a long process of careful negotiation and foresees the possibility of periodic reviews of its application, according to the Vatican. It concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.
The shared hope is that this agreement may favor a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world, the Vatican said.
“The signing of a Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China concerning the appointment of Bishops is of great importance, especially for the life of the Church in China, for the dialogue between the Holy See and the Authorities of that country and also for the promotion of a horizon of peace in this present times in which we experience so many tensions at the international level,” said Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin when the agreement was announced. “The objective of the Holy See is a pastoral one: the Holy See intends just to create the condition, or to help to create the condition, of a greater freedom, autonomy and organization, in order that the Catholic Church can dedicate itself to the mission of announcing the Gospel and also to contribute to the wellbeing and to the spiritual and material prosperity and harmony of the country, of every person and of the world as a whole.”
Pope Francis ton Sept. 26, 2018, issued a message to the Catholics of China and to the Universal Church.
The 11-point message touches on various issues and touches on the provisional agreement published Sept. 22, 2018.
“The Provisional Agreement signed with the Chinese authorities, while limited to certain aspects of the Church’s life and necessarily capable of improvement,” it noted, “can contribute – for its part – to writing this new chapter of the Catholic Church in China.”
For the first time, it said, the Agreement sets out stable elements of cooperation between the state authorities and the Apostolic See, in the hope of providing the Catholic community with good shepherds.
“In this context, the Holy See intends fully to play its own part. Yet an important part also falls to you, the bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful: to join in seeking good candidates capable of taking up in the Church the demanding and important ministry of bishop.”