Pope Francis has officially recognised the bishop of Shanghai, Joseph Shen Bin, who was already appointed by China in April.
At that time, the government in Beijing had removed the churchman Mr Shen Bin from the diocese of Haimen and transferred him to Shanghai.
The Holy See was not involved in this decision.
On Saturday, the head of the Catholic Church officially gave the green light for the transfer to Shanghai in a terse statement.
According to the Vatican, it is the pontiff’s responsibility to appoint Catholic bishops.
China’s action and Mr Shen Bin’s appointment contradicted the “spirit of dialogue and collaboration” established in 2018 between China and the Vatican in an agreement on appointing bishops, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin told the official news portal Vatican News on Saturday.
Mr Shen Bin, however, was “an esteemed pastor.”
Mr Francis had accepted China’s unilateral move for the “greater good” of the faithful in Shanghai and therefore decided to “rectify the canonical irregularity.”
The Vatican now hopes that future decisions on vocations will be made together by consensus.
Mr Parolin called for an “open dialogue” and a “respectful encounter with the Chinese side.”
He insisted on respect for the agreement.
He indicated that the “proper application of the agreement” would make it possible to avoid such difficulties.
China and the Holy See do not maintain diplomatic relations. In 2018, however, they agreed on the appointment of bishops.
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