Just over a year ago, on September 22, 2018, an Agreement was signed between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Despite its temporary nature, its importance is such that it has attracted much comment, and it has already become the focus of in-depth study. One recent publication edited by two sinologists at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Agostino Giovagnoli and Elisa Giunipero, offers useful guidance to understand not only the history and nature of the agreement, but also the conditions for it to produce its fruits for the life for the Catholic Church in the PRC.
The volume opens with an illuminating preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on the new “Roman Approach” to the Chinese question. There is also a contribution from Andrea Riccardi who insists on the decisive role of Pope Francis in the resumption of relations between the Holy See and China after several turbulent decades, to the point of his leading them firmly to this first historic result.