Vatican news

Vatican refuses to be drawn on Rome-Beijing deal

The Vatican is refusing to comment on a report by news agency Reuters that it is close to a final agreement with China on the appointment and official recognition of bishops.

Amid rumours of progress in ongoing talks between representatives of the Vatican and Beijing, Reuters has reported that an agreement will be announced by the close of the month.

In response, while Rome remained tight-lipped, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry stated only that “We are willing to work hard with the Vatican and meet each other halfway”.

The report on the forthcoming accord confidently added that not only will it deal with the appointments of new bishops, but will lead to the Vatican acknowledging four bishops previously appointed by the Chinese authorities, which left the four facing automatic excommunication.

Under the terms of the new agreement, it is envisaged that local clergy will nominate candidates for a bishopric, with the Pope having the final say on the candidate ultimately chosen.


Pope offers cautionary words on priestly vocations

Pope Francis has urged bishops to be careful who they admit to seminary.

Addressing a Conference on Vocations organised by the Congregation for Clergy in Rome last weekend, the Pontiff called on prelates to vet candidates for “mature and balanced” priests.

“When it comes to vocations to the priesthood and those entering the seminary, I beg you to discern the truth, to have a shrewd and cautious look,” he said. “I say this especially to brother bishops: vigilance and prudence.”


Meanwhile, in a message to priests during the same conference, the Pope stressed that their work involves actively engaging with and listening to people.

“It’s sad when a priest lives only for himself, enclosed in the safe fortress of the rectory, the sacristy or among a restricted group of loyal followers,” the Pontiff stated. “On the contrary, we are called to be shepherds among the people, capable of showing pastoral care and taking the time to welcome and listen to everyone, especially young people.”


Holy See finalises agreement with Benin

The Holy See and Benin have signed an agreement leading to the official recognition of the Catholic Church in the West African nation.

At a ceremony in the country’s largest city, Cotonou, on October 21, Archbishop Brian Udaigwe, nuncio to Benin, and Aurélien Agbenonci, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, signed the agreement. Entitled the ‘Framework Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Benin relating to the Legal Status of the Catholic Church in Benin’, the deal “guarantees the Church the ability to carry out its mission in Benin”. 

The Framework further commits both Rome and Benin “to work together for the moral, spiritual and material well-being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good”.

Pope Benedicct XVI visited Benin in 2011, where he delivered his exhortation Africae Munus  – The Commitment of Africa – about the future of Christianity on the African continent.