The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News


Macau prelate Lee meets China bishop shunned by pope

A critic of China's top Catholic body, Bishop Lee plays nice with Party officials in Beijing reporter, Hong Kong reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: October 24, 2017 05:06 AM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Macau prelate Lee meets China bishop shunned by pope

Bishop Stephen Lee (first row on the left) and Bishop Ma Yinglin pray together in the chapel of the national seminary in Beijing, May 30. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
The first visit of Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang of Macau to Beijing — since his appointment in January 2016 as head of the diocese — has been largely downplayed by religious officials in the the Chinese capital.

Bishop Lee led a 12-member delegation to visit three seminaries, two churches, two primary schools and the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) in Beijing and neighboring Hebei province from May 29 to June 2.

Arriving at the national seminary May 30, Bishop Lee was received by Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, the president of the bishops' conference, vice chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), and rector of the seminary. The Vatican does not recognize either the two government-sanctioned church bodies or Bishop Ma who was ordained without papal mandate.

Portuguese and English language reports in O Clarim name Bishop Ma as "rector" of the seminary while the Chinese report address him by the official title of "bishop" but without indicating that he was ordained without papal mandate. O Clarim is a Macau diocesan weekly published in Chinese, English and Portuguese.

Bishop Ma also received a Vatican delegation in 2015 at the national seminary after negotiations that took place between China and the Vatican. The delegation comprised representatives from the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The SARA report made only a brief mention of the visit saying Bishop Lee and Chen Zhongrong, vice director of SARA, "exchanged views on the development of the Catholic Church in Macau and the promotion of Catholic exchanges between the two places."

A Catholic commentator in China, who asked not to be named, said a one-paragraph report by the SARA was "playing down the visit of Bishop Lee" due to his views on the Catholic Church in China.

"The one paragraph report with only two sentences shows that the SARA was giving a cold shoulder to Bishop Lee, who said in an earlier interview that the CCPA and the other government-controlled church organizations go against a China-Vatican agreement because of money and job prospects," said the commentator.

Bishop Lee, a member of Opus Dei who wrote a doctoral thesis on China-Vatican relations, told that the details of the Beijing visit could be found in the June 9 issue of O Clarim and that he had nothing to add.

According to O Clarim, the delegation's visit aimed to learn more about the state of seminary formation, pastoral care, parish work and educational activities of the church on the mainland, and to "promote mutual understanding and exchange."

The delegation visited major churches in Beijing and met Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, who is approved by the government and the Vatican. Bishop Li invited the Macau bishop to visit again when the Diocesan Curia moved to the Church of the Savior, also known as the North Cathedral by the end of the year.

Macau, a former colony of Portugal, was the base for the first diocese created in the Far East in modern times in 1576. The territory was returned to China as a special administrative region in 1999.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

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