Bishop told to toe party line before celebrating Chrism Mass

A Chinese bishop, asked to step aside by the Vatican for an illicitly ordained bishop, cannot concelebrate Chrism Mass unless he agrees to state policy on the Catholic Church in China.

Apr 12, 2019

CHINA: A Chinese bishop, asked to step aside by the Vatican for an illicitly ordained bishop, cannot concelebrate Chrism Mass unless he agrees to state policy on the Catholic Church in China.

Bishop Guo Xijin — the former bishop of Mindong — said that it is currently uncertain if he could join the Chrism Mass because the government refuses to acknowledge him.

“The government officials said in clarity that they do not recognise me as a bishop,” Bishop Guo said.

The bishop said he has been told that recognition would only come upon his applying to join the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) and its Church affairs committee at the provincial level.

“This needs to be done after declaring my acceptance of the policy of ‘an independent, autonomous and self-run Church,’” he said. “They said: ‘You are not sincere enough and, therefore, we cannot recognise your identity.’”

The 59-year-old bishop said he is not considering doing what the officials are pressuring him to do.

Bishop Guo was the Vatican-approved bishop of the underground church in Mindong Diocese which covers the prefecture-level city of Ningde in Fujian province, southeastern China.

Following the Sept 22, 2018 signing of the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement, he was asked to step aside by

Vatican officials for state-approved Bishop Zhan Silu who was pardoned by Pope Francis.

Bishop Zhan took the appointment when Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli led a Vatican delegation to Beijing last December.

Bishop Zhan said that a concelebration of the Chrism Mass depends on Bishop Guo, but added that the government makes decisions. -- ucanews.com

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