In 2018, the Holy See made a “provisional agreement” with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops in China.

When the Holy See renewed the deal for the first time in 2020, they said the goal of the agreement was “unity of the Church” which “will become an instrument of evangelization.”

Now, the Holy See renewed the deal for a second time for another two years.

“After appropriate consultation and assessment, the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to extend for another two years the Provisional Agreement regarding the appointment of Bishops.”

The press release from Saturday continued:

“The Vatican Party is committed to continuing a respectful and constructive dialogue with the Chinese Party for a productive implementation of the Accord and further development of bilateral relations, with a view to fostering the mission of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people.”

A total of 14 bishops have been recognized by the Church since the deal went into effect. The terms of the deal have not been made public, however.

Before it’s renewal, Pope Francis defended the deal and said “it is a slow process, but steps forward are always being made.”

“Diplomacy is the art of the possible and of doing things to make the possible become a reality. Diplomacy is like that. When you face a blocked situation, you have to find the possible way, not the ideal way, out of it.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the deal is “a limited but significant part” towards “being able to assure Chinese Catholic communities pastors who are worthy and suitable for the task entrusted to them.”

“The ultimate goal of this journey is for the ‘little flock’ of Chinese Catholics to advance in the possibility of living serenely and freely their Christian life.”

Last month, Pope Francis said he is “always ready to go to China.”

However, Chinese president Xi Jinping declined to meet with him.

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