Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, followed the delicate and complex path of the Catholic Church in China since 1992, the year of its arrival in Hong Kong. In those same years the diplomatic detente began between the People’s Republic of China and the Holy See, with the first contacts between members of the Secretariat of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Beijing. Your Eminence, for several years now you have led the Dicastery of the Holy See responsible for evangelization, with particular reference to the so-called “mission” territories. Cardinal Fernando said the following on the pastoral significance of the “Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops” signed by the Holy See and the Chinese Government on 22 September 2018?
“Since the Dicastery that I oversee has a particular responsibility for accompanying the Church in China, I feel particularly called upon to speak about the pastoral significance of the Provisional Agreement. But I think Pope Francis said it best when, in his Message to the Catholics of China last September, he wrote: Furthermore, “The Provisional Agreement signed with the Chinese authorities, while limited to certain aspects of the Church’s life and necessarily capable of improvement, can contribute – for its part – to writing this new chapter of the Catholic Church in China. For the first time, the Agreement sets out stable elements of cooperation between the state authorities and the Apostolic See, in the hope of providing the Catholic community with good shepherds.”