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Vatican says China violated terms of agreement with bishop installation

The installation ceremony of Bishop John Peng Weizhao in Nanchang, China on Nov. 24, 2022. / Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association

Vatican City, Nov 26, 2022 / 05:40 am (CNA).

The Vatican said on Saturday that Chinese authorities had violated the terms stipulated in its provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops.

A statement released on Nov. 26 said that “the Holy See noted with surprise and regret” that Bishop John Peng Weizhao had been installed as an “auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi,” a diocese that is not recognized by the Vatican.

Peng’s installation ceremony in Nanchang, China “did not occur in accordance with the spirit of dialogue … and what was stipulated in the Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops, on September 22, 2018,” it said.

The Vatican statement also noted reports that “prolonged and heavy pressure from local authorities” preceded the installation.

“The Holy See hopes that similar episodes will not be repeated, remains awaiting appropriate communications on the matter from the authorities, and reaffirms its full readiness to continue the respectful dialogue concerning all matters of common interest,” it said.

The boundaries of the “diocese of Jiangxi” were drawn by Chinese authorities without Vatican approval.

Peng, on the other hand, was legitimately appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 and secretly ordained as an underground bishop of Yujiang—something for which he was arrested by Chinese authorities and held in custody for six months, according to Asia News.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association publicized on its official website that Peng’s installation ceremony occurred on Nov. 24 with “the consent of the Jiangxi Provincial Catholic Educational Affairs Committee and the approval of the Chinese Catholic bishops’ conference.”

The government-approved Catholic association said Peng swore an oath at the installation ceremony to “guide Catholicism to adapt to socialist society” and contribute to the “dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Bishop John Baptist Suguang Li of Nanching presided over the installation ceremony with about 200 people in attendance. Li serves as the vice president of the Chinese bishops’ conference, a group that has not received public recognition from the Holy See.

The installation ceremony took place one month after the Vatican renewed its deal with Beijing on the appointment of Catholic bishops for an additional two years.

The provisional agreement between the Holy See and China was first signed in September 2018 and renewed for another two years in October 2020. The terms of the deal have not been made public.

Former bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vehement critic of the agreement, was convicted by a Hong Kong court and fined HK$4,000 the day following the installation. The Vatican has yet to make a statement on Zen’s conviction.


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9 Comments

  1. It could very well be that the Chinese are interpreting the agreement broadly in an open way according to their sense of it. Meaning they think what they’re doing is right that helps their cause -box in Catholicism and deny it more and more and spread Sinicization. They can thereby provide more openings and space to the Holy See/Vatican, to do the dialogue lifestyle that it/they are announcing from its/their own side. (Sorry.)

    The appointment of the bishop without the Holy See’s participation would just be an incidental flap.

    It could be that the scene that has come into being is worse than that. Such that where instead of the Holy See/Vatican being somewhat blinded to it in a naievty, it/they are actually interested to acquiescing in the Sinicization and willing to accept the boxing-in of the faith so that it/they can profess novelties from its/their own side.

    Again the appointment of the bishop without the Holy See’s participation would just be an incidental flap.

    Why is/are the Holy See/Vatican complaining in public about the appointment when the terms of the Provisional Agreement are secret and the bishop will be doing the same types of things -Sinicization- that the other patriotic bishops do that the Holy See/Vatican approves of in those appointments?

    It could be said that the complaining in public is legalistic but non-formalistic yet has a good intention to smell like the sheep and not insult the faith of the CPC or the worldliness of the non-clericalist patriotic bishops; however, making the observation would not advance anyone’s understanding or give sense to sorting out the vagaries at work.

  2. Rule #1: Don’t dialogue with the devil. He always lies. Shame on the Vatican for not condemning the incarceration of Cardinal zen who begged the pope not to negotiate with the CCC.

  3. Occasional protest by the Vatican, whether it’s about Church suffocating China policy, Pope Francis’ letter of admonition to the German Synodal way, his recent disregard of the Synodal way visit to the Vatican, abortion described as hiring a hit man – has no significance insofar as what must be considered papal policy that actually supports: a Marxist socialist Church in China, the Synodal way agenda to normalize same sex, women priests, and abortion rights.
    Papal appointments, suggestions, lack of serious intervention to correct these errors within the Church in Germany, its doctrinal distortion within China, throughout the universal Church are viable evidence of complicity. Unlike secular institutions the Church leadership may not restructure, modify its mission eliminating what Christ revealed. This is true primarily with the Roman pontiff, who is obliged by the description of his Office, the Chair of Peter, to correct this subversion of Apostolic doctrine and its practice.
    Intransigence by the Vatican to correct this apostasy is unfortunately accommodated by the intransigence of lower ranked clergy bishops presbyters deacons to effectively respond, as did Fr Thomas Weinandy OFM Cap in his 2017 letter to Francis clearly outlining the serious issues related to his papacy. We, especially clergy, are not free of the moral responsibility to address this dilemma from the pulpit and any other amenable means.

    • Where I say “papal policy that actually supports” I don’t refer to explicit Vatican support of CCP policy toward the Church, rather a variation of support more in line with a less than faith inspired accommodation.

  4. I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

    After the Vatican took such pains to signal their total and complete supineness before the Chinese dragon, China treated them with the contempt due a spineless and pusillanimous non-entity!

    Who could have ever predicted it?

    (Sigh.)

    Jesus deserves so much better.

  5. It’s not like the Vatican cares. Bergoglio and McCarrick knew fully that they were betraying Chinese Catholics. A Communist is less trustworthy than a druggie.

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