Beijing and Vatican recognized Chinese bishop dies

Bishop Matthew Hu Xiande, 83, led 30,000 Catholics and about 24 priests in Ningbo diocese
Beijing and Vatican recognized Chinese bishop dies

The funeral for Bishop Matthew Hu Xiande of Ningbo will be held on Sept. 28.  (Photo supplied) reporter, Hong Kong
September 26, 2017
Bishop Matthew Hu Xiande of Ningbo from northeast Zhejiang province, who was recognized by both the Vatican and the Chinese government, died on Sept. 25. He was 83.

Bishop Hu had been hospitalized since Sept 22. "He had cancer of the bladder, pancreatic, lung and pancreas," a local church source who asked not to be named told

A requiem Mass for the bishop will be held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Ningbo on Sept. 27 and a funeral on the next day.

The church source praised Bishop Hu for implementing the spirit of Vatican II and for his emphasis on the Bible.

The bishop also updated the liturgy text in response to changes in the Chinese language. 

"He established a Bible study group to encourage the laity to study scripture," the source said.

Bishop Hu led 30,000 Catholics and about 24 priests in his diocese where foreign missionaries first arrived in the 16th century.

He was baptized in 1949, the same year the communists came to power in China, and entered the seminary in Ningbo the following year. He continued his studies in Xujiahui seminary in Shanghai in 1957.

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) he returned home but resumed his studies in 1985. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxin of Shanghai that same year.

He was ordained as Coadjutor Bishop of Ningbo by Bishop Joseph Ma Xuesheng of Zhoucun from eastern Shandong province in 2000. He headed the  diocese in 2004 when his predecessor died.

While commemorating Bishop Jin's birth centenary in 2016, Bishop Hu wrote an article reflecting on his dealings with the bishop who passed away in 2013.


'Render to Caesar'

In 1992, the 10th anniversary of the Sheshan Seminary, he was invited to represent new priests who had graduated from the seminary to report on pastoral and evangelization work since their ordinations.

"My report received some criticism. Some Catholics from Hong Kong and Taiwan thought I sang too much praise for the communist's religious policy while government officials thought I did not speak enough about patriotism," he recalled.

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"It is really a difficult issue on how to follow the teachings of our Lord: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

"It is necessary for us to insist on the principle of faith but also to adapt to China's circumstances," he said.  

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