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He estimated that the country’s Catholic population decreased to 10.5 million in 2016.
However, ties between the Vatican and the Chinese government have improved under Pope Francis.
Underground churches, however, say they are loyal to the Pope.
Anthony Lam is an expert on the Catholic Church in China.
Liu said, “If the Pope demands worshipers to unconditionally obey the agreement, there will be a great deal of conflict.
Therefore, I don’t think the unjustified agreement will bring unity.” He described the agreement as “spiritual torture” to Chinese Catholics.
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They say China will be the winner in talks if the government gets to nominate candidates for bishop.
Francesco Sisci, a former Italian diplomat, is now a researcher at China Renmin University.
He said a deal does not hurt the principles of the Holy See, the government of the Catholic Church in the Vatican.
Instead, he said the move could be a way to bridge, what he called, gaps between China and the rest of the world. He says the Catholic Church is weighing the good and the harm of making a deal with China.
He noted that the world’s 230 Cardinals, except Zen, and all bishops in China, have agreed with the Pope’s decision. “So, there’s the notion of the greatest good with the least harm…So that is calculation, but at the same time, there are potential advantages to be had in terms of conversion in China.” In negotiations, China is expected to seek formal diplomatic ties with the Vatican.