Pope Francis on Wednesday offered a “warm welcome” to two Chinese Catholic bishops attending a synod for the first time following a landmark deal between China and the Vatican.

“Today, for the first time, we have also with us two bishops from mainland China,” the pontiff said in a speech to kick off the month-long advisory body meeting on the role of young people in the 1.2 billion-member church.

“We offer them our warm welcome: the communion of the entire episcopate with the successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence,” he said.

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