Highlights from the week online

Is 2017 the year for a Vatican-China deal?

Negotiations between the Holy See and China “are on course for a landmark breakthrough in 2017”, wrote Victor Gaetan at National Catholic Register. Reconciliation “has been a top priority for Pope Francis from the start of his pontificate.”

Of 110 bishops in China, about 70 are jointly approved by Rome and Beijing, some 30 are solely endorsed by the Holy See, and eight are state-appointed bishops whose status is now under review by the Vatican.

“The Vatican’s objective is not yet full diplomatic relations between China and the Holy See, but normalising the process for selecting bishops,” Gaetan wrote. But there is opposition from “Hong Kong’s indomitable 84-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen”, who says Pope Francis is inexperienced at dealing with communist governments and has, “in his goodwill . . . done many things which are simply ridiculous.”

Three papal decisions to watch out for

“Trying to predict what this maverick Pope will do is a fool’s errand,” wrote John L Allen at Crux. “Yet we can at least say that in 2017, he’ll have the chance to continue doing something arguably more important than almost anything else in terms of framing his legacy and shaping culture in the Church, which is naming bishops.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection