17-December-2012 -- Vatican Information Service |

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Agreement Between The Holy See And China

Vatican City, 17 December 2012 (VIS) - Today there took place an exchange of Notes between the Vatican and Taipei, by which the Secretary of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated, respectively, that the Holy See and the Republic of China have completed the necessary procedures to allow the entry in force of the Agreement between the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China on Collaboration in the field of higher education and on the recognition of studies, qualifications, diplomas and degrees.

The Agreement was signed in Taipei on 2 December 2011 by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Wu Ching-Ji, minister for Education of the Republic of China (ROC). On 20 November it was unanimously approved by the parliamentary assembly (Legislative Yuan) of the Republic of China.

It is an agreement "of a cultural and administrative character", stipulated within the framework of the UNESCO Regional Convention on the recognition of studies, diplomas and teaching grades in Asia and the Pacific, signed in Tokyo on 26 November 2011 with the participation of the Republic of China and the Holy See, among other States. It regulates two sectors: the academic-administrative domain of the reciprocal recognition of studies, qualifications, diplomas and grades, and that of collaboration in the field of higher education, which would include the presence of the Catholic Church in the university environment within the Chinese language zone.

By this agreement, the Republic of China concedes to the Holy See the recognition of study titles and ecclesiastical grades issued throughout the world, respect for canon law on the structure and management of Catholic universities and ecclesiastical faculties of theology in Taiwan, and the possibility of proposing Catholic values in the academic field in faculties other than those of theology. The latter two guarantees are included, fundamentally, in Article 2, which regards the recognition of the unique character of the education system, specific to ecclesiastical universities and faculties. This recognition implies respect for canon academic legislation, the protection of the Catholic character of academic institutions, the exclusive competence of the Holy See for content, academic programmes and the appointment of directors and teaching staff, as well as the individual written commitment on the part of teachers and administrative staff to moral conduct compatible with Catholic doctrine and morality. The rest of the Agreement is mostly concerned with the technical and bureaucratic aspects of the recognition of studies, qualifications, titles and grades. The relevant UNESCO Regional Conventions are cited, often literally.

The Agreement will also bring advantages to priests, seminarians and clergy from continental China who undertake studies at the Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei.

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