Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters thursday at a daily briefing that China and the Vatican had decided to extend the agreement “after friendly consultations.” “Away from the people, he is like a fish out of the water,” said a Vatican official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share his frank comments about the pope. “In principle, Pope Francis is still in this cage.” Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor-in-chief of the missionary news agency AsiaNews, which extensively covers the Church in China, noted that in the two years since the signing of the agreement, the persecution of Christians by the Chinese authorities has only increased, destroying churches, incarcerating priests and excluding young people from cults. It also states that “the protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international conventions. Any attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them with violent attacks, bombings or destruction is a departure from religious teachings and a clear violation of international law. The Vatican defended the 2018 agreement against criticism that Francis had exhausted illegal believers and said the agreement was necessary to avoid an even more serious division within the Chinese church, after Beijing appointed bishops without the pope`s approval. ROME – Humanity, Pope Francis says, is in the midst of a worrying regression. People are very polarized. Their debates, without any real listening, seem to have turned into a “permanent state of disagreement and confrontation”. In some countries, heads of state and government use a “strategy of derision” and relentless criticism and spread despair to “dominate and take control”.
On the second day of his trip, the Pope urged Morocco`s small Catholic community to engage with Muslims to eradicate extremism. In the pope`s private studies, Mr. Trump and the pope sat side by side for 30 minutes and spoke with the support of an interpreter. Before leaving the Vatican, the President told the Pope: “Thank you, thank you. I will not forget what you said. Even before the coronavirus, Francis no longer attracted the fanfare seen in the early years of his papacy. The abuse scandals have shaken his reputation and his plans to reform the Church are less new. But the pandemic exacerbated the challenge, as the pope kept the pope largely locked inside the city-state, where in March he was upset to feel “locked up.” Francis` secular style quickly made him an icon for progressive Catholics and other Christians. Even non-Christians applauded the pope and rubbed their eyes with astonishment at the opposition between Francis and his conservative and academic predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
After 10 months in office, Francis was the first pope to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The Vatican has vehemently defended the agreement in recent weeks, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly criticized it and asked the Holy See not to renew it. The agreement, which has never been published, provides for a process of dialogue in the selection of bishops, although Pope Francis has said he has the final say. The Vatican signed it in 2018 in the hope that it would help unify Chinese Catholics, divided for seven decades between those of an official state-sanctioned church and a Roman underground church. In January 2018, during a trip to Chile, François spontaneously vaccinated a couple on a plane. The two crew members were travelling with the pope on a flight between the capital Santiago and the northern city of Iquique. They had apparently spoken to Francis about their plans for marriage. Austen Ivereigh, a biographer of Francis, said it was clear that the Pope planned to publish this encyclical before the pandemic, and that is not his response to the turmoil of the year.