China deal sees underground bishops step aside

Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu (left) will take over from Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin in the Diocese of Mindong (ucanews.com/AsiaNews)

In the wake of a deal signed between the Holy See and the Chinese Government, two underground bishops have agreed to step aside in favour of bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Source: CNA.

AsiaNews reported last week that Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong has agreed to become auxiliary bishop and that Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu will become Bishop of Mindong.

The agreement was made at a meeting in Beijing, in the presence of Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

At the same meeting, Archbishop Celli announced that Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou will give way to Bishop Joseph Huang Bingzhang.

Both Bishop Zhan and Bishop Huang had been excommunicated, and were reconciled to the Holy See as part of a September agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China.

According to AsiaNews, at the meeting Archbishop Celli gave Bishop Guo a letter from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and from Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, asking that he give up his role as Bishop of Mindong in favour of Bishop Zhan.

“Also according to the report of the priests of Mindong, Msgr Celli would have told Msgr Guo that Pope Francis himself asks for this gesture of obedience ‘and of sacrifice for the general situation of the Chinese Church’,” the news outlet reported.

AsiaNews also noted that in previous cases in which a bishop of the CPCA was reconciled to the Holy See, he would become auxiliary bishop to an existing bishop of the underground Church.

Bishop Guo, 59, was detained overnight by the Chinese authorities overnight. He was ordered not to officiate as a bishop while saying Mass because he is not recognised by the government.

He had been detained because to concelebrate with Bishop Zhan at a Chrism Mass.

Bishop Guo was also detained ahead of Holy Week in 2017.

FULL STORY

After China deal, two underground bishops step down at Vatican’s request (CNA) 

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