The Vatican says it has reached an agreement with China on the appointment of jointly approved bishops in the Communist country. The move goes a long way towards re-establishing diplomatic relations that broke off after an alleged assassination plot against Chinese leaders involving a Catholic priest in 1951.
"Pope Francis, like his immediate predecessors, looks with the particular care to the Chinese people," explained Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.
The preliminary agreement concerns only religion and not the establishment of full diplomatic relations. It's estimated that China is home to around 12 million Catholics - a very small minority. They have been torn between an underground Church swearing loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association