The Vatican on Saturday announced an historic accord with China on who appoints bishops in the Communist country, paving the way for rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the world’s most populous country.

Shortly after the deal was unveiled, Pope Francis recognised seven clergy appointed by Beijing, which has not had ties with the Vatican since 1951.

China immediately said it was hopeful of better relations, while Taiwan insisted its ties with the Vatican were safe.

There are an estimated 12 million Catholics in China, divided between a government-run association whose clergy are chosen by the Communist Party and an unofficial church which swears allegiance to the Vatican.

The Holy See is one of only 17 countries that recognise Taiwain, officially known as the Republic of China, instead of diplomatic ties with Beijing.


Source: Seychelles News Agency