The government is closely monitoring a deal between China and the Holy See that could reportedly be sealed soon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The ministry is well aware of ongoing dialogue between the Vatican and Beijing, and would continue to closely monitor developments, spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said, declining to comment on whether the two sides have made a breakthrough.
The Vatican has reportedly made concessions to Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China — which would represent a significant breakthrough in relations between the two sides.
However, the Holy See has repeatedly reassured Taipei that an agreement would be purely about religious affairs and would not affect bilateral ties, if they reach any, Lee said.
The Union of Catholic Asian News late last month reported that Beijing and the Vatican were to hold a new round of talks this month to resolve the appointment issue.
The Chinese-language Kung Kao Po, which belongs to the Hong Kong diocese, last month also reported that the deal was scheduled to be signed before next month.
The news adds to a growing list of developments that indicate good relations between the Vatican and Beijing, with the Holy See making many goodwill gestures to China, especially since Pope Francis took the reins in March 2013.
Catholics in China are split between those in so-called “underground churches,” which recognize the pope and the Holy See, and those belonging to the state-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, whose bishops are appointed by the government in collaboration with local parishes.
Foreign media have reported that under the deal, the Vatican would have a say in negotiations about the appointment of bishops.
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