UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News


China installs another Vatican loyalist bishop

Bishop Li vows to insist on the independence of the Chinese Church as he is approved in a public ceremony

UCA News reporter, Hong Kong

UCA News reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: June 25, 2020 09:41 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
China installs another Vatican loyalist bishop

Bishops and priests pose for a photograph after the public installation of Bishop Peter Li Huiyuan of Fengxiang Diocese on June 22 in front of St. Joseph's Cathedral, where the ceremony took place. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
In the second such significant incident in two weeks, China’s state-sanctioned Catholic Church has approved and installed a Vatican-appointed underground bishop at a public function.

Bishop Peter Li Huiyuan of Fengxiang Diocese in landlocked Shaanxi province was installed as bishop in a June 22 ceremony overseen by Bishop Dang Mingyan, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).

The 55-year-old Bishop Li is the fourth underground bishop to be approved by the state-sanctioned open church since the Vatican and China signed an agreement in September 2018 on regularizing the appointment of bishops.

Some 150 people, including bishops in the region and lay representatives of Bishop Li’s diocese, attended the ceremony at St. Joseph's Cathedral of Fengxiang Diocese.

Bishop Dang, seen as the head of the state-approved church, presented Bishop Li with the mitre, sceptre and ring — all symbols of the leadership and pastoral duties of a Catholic bishop.

Bishop Li celebrated the Mass during the ceremony. He promised to abide by China's constitution, uphold the unity of the motherland and social harmony, and love the country and religion.

He and his laity will “insist on the independence of our own Church, on the direction of Chinese Catholicism, and on contributing to the realization of the Chinese dream of the great revival of the Chinese nation and its strength,” he vowed.

Bishop Li’s approval follows a similar ceremony on June 9 in which 83-year-old underground Bishop Peter Lin Jiashan of Fuzhou in Fujian province was publicly installed.

The Vatican appointed Bishop Li as a coadjutor bishop without publicly announcing it. Bishops at a 2011 regional synod elected him following all the regulations of the CCPA.

The bishops also invited state officials to supervise the election and to confirm that it was in accordance with the laws. Bishop Li’s 2011 election as coadjutor bishop was declared valid, but the CCPA refused to give a date for his consecration.

However, Bishop Li’s predecessor Bishop Li Jingfeng died on Nov. 17, 2017, leaving the leadership of the diocese to Bishop Li, who was then not recognized by the government.

The Diocese of Fengxiang did not register with CCPA until May 2019 when a CCPA unit was established in the diocese and Bishop Li was elected as the chairman of that CCPA.

The other two bishops recognized by China following the Vatican-China agreement were Bishop Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou and Bishop Jin Lugang of Nanyang. Bishop Zhuang retired immediately in January 2019. Eight days later, Bishop Jin was approved.

The Vatican-China deal on bishops is due for revision and renewal in September.

Bishop appointments remain a thorny issue as the Vatican insists they are its prerogative. But China looks at the issue as interference by a foreign power in the internal affairs of the nation and wants to appoint bishops on its own.

The 2018 agreement, the details of which are still secret, is considered a landmark development since the Vatican and China severed diplomatic relations in 1951.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution