CNA Staff, Sep 15, 2020 / 01:15 pm (CNA).- Religious freedom must be the result of any renewed Vatican agreement with China, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom emphasized on Tuesday, noting that underground Catholics in the country remained “persecuted.”

On Monday, Sept. 14, the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that a renewal of the Holy See’s 2018 deal with China on the appointment of bishops was likely and would help “normalize the life of the Church” there.

In response, Gary Bauer—a commissioner with USCIRF, a bipartisan federal advisory body—warned Tuesday that the persecution of underground Catholics by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must stop if the Vatican-China deal is renewed.

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