Bishop Emeritus Thomas Qian Yurong of Xuzhou, eastern Jiangsu province, died last Friday at the age of 99. Ordained to the priesthood in 1945, he was one of the two surviving “self-elected and self-ordained” bishops from 1958-63, a period of conflict between the Communist government and the Vatican, before Church activities were banned by the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76. Bishop Qian was succeeded by Bishop John Wang Renlui in 2011. Both of them had to deal with disunity within the diocese, as the status of both bishops was regarded as illegitimate until they received papal recognition: Bishop Qian in 2007 and Bishop Wang in 2012. Bishop Wang told ucanews.com: “It has not been easy for the diocese to overcome all the difficulties. The pressure of being a bishop is huge.” Bishop Qian’s funeral is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
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