Following China’s opening in the 1980s, the Church went through the pontificates of Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the current pontiff, Pope Francis, each cordially showing a desire to engage Chinese authorities in dialogue. Through humility and patience, China and the Vatican finally met in Beijing on 22 September 2018 to sign the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of bishops.
Answering questions from journalists, Pope Francis said that the Agreement was not just an impulse, but “a true journey”, and the negotiation “process went like this: two steps forward, one back, two forward, one back”. The Holy See spokesman Greg Burke said that the Agreement does not represent the end of a process but is its beginning.
The “independent Church” separated from the Pope is therefore not the Catholic Church; the bishops without the Pope’s appointment are not even pastors of the Church; what is false cannot be disguised as truth, even if it has been in place for 60 years thanks to government help, looking more and more like Catholicism but unable to mask its true face.