China, Vatican and controversial deal

China and the Vatican are close to reaching a historic deal regarding the appointment of bishops, according to media reports here.

An agreement could be signed in a few months, said a senior Vatican source. If reached, it would be a breakthrough in relations for both parties, said a BBC News report.

But what exactly is in the pipeline and what would it mean for the country’s 10 million Catholics?What are relations between China and the Vatican like? Ties between two have long been strained by disputes over who can appoint bishops in the country.

China first broke off diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1951, and many Catholics were forced to go underground during former communist leader Mao Zedong’s rule, emerging only in the 1980s when religious practices were tolerated again.

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