Is the Vatican’s China ‘progress’ going backwards?

Announcing the renewal of the Vatican-China deal, Cdl. Pietro Parolin argued Saturday that the deal is “essential to the daily life of the Church” in China — repeating a frequent theme in his defense of the bilateral agreement. But while the Vatican insists the deal is a pragmatic necessity, its effectiveness is questionable. And human rights advocates argue that engagement with the Chinese Communist Party is sapping the Holy See’s moral credibility.