Pope Francis has recognised seven bishops who had been ordained in China without the Vatican's approval, his office said on Saturday.
The decision came as the Vatican announced a historic accord with Beijing on the appointment of bishops in China in what could pave the way for the normalisation of ties between the Catholic Church and the world's most populous country.
"Pope Francis hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics," the Vatican said in a statement.
The decision also readmits an eighth bishop who died last year and "had expressed the desire to be reconciled with the Apostolic See," it said.
"With a view to sustaining the proclamation of the Gospel in China, the Holy Father Pope Francis has decided to readmit to full ecclesial communion the remaining 'official' Bishops, ordained without Pontifical Mandate," it said.