Vatican accord with China by end of March? (Taiwan News) An accord between the Vatican and China could be signed by the end of March, according to an unidentified Vatican official quoted in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Chinese officials are expected to be in Rome during March to continue negotiations toward the agreement, which has been widely anticipated.
China expert fears accord would establish 'national Church' (Crux) An expert on Catholic missionary work has voiced his fear that an agreement between the Vatican and China could produce a state-controlled Church. Father Bernardo Cervellera, the director of the AsiaNews service, told Crux that the rumored agreement— under which the government would choose bishops, with the Holy See exercising a partial veto— would be a step backward, toward times when government leaders controlled Church decisions. Father Cervellera remarks that the Vatican may be anxious to reach an accord, because of concerns that the government might otherwise appoint dozens of new illicit bishops, and crack down more severely on the “underground” Church.
Pope names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (Vatican Press Office) The Commission includes nine new members and seven old members. Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston remains the advisory commission’s president. Teresa Kettelkamp, who helped the US bishops implement child-protection programs, is the new American member. Other new members are drawn from a broadly diverse geographical base.
The mandate of the papal commission had expired in December, prompting some criticism that the issue was not being treated as a high priority.
Among the new commission members, none is known to be a victim of sexual abuse. The Vatican announced that some members were in fact victims, but would not be personally identified for reasons of privacy.
Diocese announces Cardinal Mahony will not appear at anniversary celebration (LifeSite News) Cardinal Roger Mahony will not appear, as originally scheduled at a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The appointment of Cardinal Mahony as a special papal representative at the celebration had provoked protests because of the cardinal’s mishandling of sex-abuse allegations during his tenure as Archbishop of Los Angeles. The Scranton diocese has announced that the retired cardinal “is unable to attend the Mass” for the March 4 celebration.