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Third Vatican-approved bishop ordained in China

Bishop Peter Wu Yishun of Northern Fujian is the ninth bishop ordained since the 2018 Sino-Vatican agreement was signed
Archbishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, the president of state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, ordains Bishop Peter Wu Yishun of Northern Fujian at Chengguan Catholic Church in Jianyang, Nanping City on Jan. 31.

Archbishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, the president of state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, ordains Bishop Peter Wu Yishun of Northern Fujian at Chengguan Catholic Church in Jianyang, Nanping City on Jan. 31. (Photo: Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China)

Published: January 31, 2024 11:12 AM GMT
Updated: February 02, 2024 06:18 AM GMT

A new Catholic bishop was ordained in China with the approval of the Vatican and the state, making it the third episcopal consecration in the communist-ruled nation within seven days.

More than 400 people attended the ordination ceremony of Bishop Peter Wu Yishun at Chengguan Catholic Church in Jianyang, Nanping City in Fujian province on Jan. 31, says a report posted on the website of the state-run Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC).

Archbishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, the president of the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, officiated the ordination ceremony along with three other bishops.

The participants included 80 priests and 360 nuns and laypeople, said the report.

The Vatican press release said the bishop was ordained for the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu (Minbei). However, a report from the Chinese bishops' conference said he was ordained for the Diocese of Northern Fujian.    

The ordination of 60-year-old Wu came two days after Father Anthony Sun Venjun, 53, was ordained as bishop of Weifang in Shandong province on Jan. 29.

Earlier, on Jan. 25, Father Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng was ordained the new bishop of Zhengzhou in the province of Henan.

Peter Wu Yishun was born on Dec. 7, 1964, in Ningde City of Fujian Province.

From September 1985 to July 1992, he studied theology and philosophy at Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai. He was ordained a priest in August 1992.

He was appointed bishop-designate of the diocese on Jan. 18, 2022, the BCCCC said.

Nine bishops have been ordained in the communist nation with the approval of the Vatican and the state since the 2018 Sino-Vatican agreement on the appointment of bishops. The Vatican has also recognized several bishops ordained earlier without a papal mandate.

There had been no “illegitimate” bishop ordinations in China since the deal was signed.

However, last year the Vatican accused China of violating the deal by the “unilateral” transfer and installation of a bishop who is known as a confidante of the Chinese Communist Party.

China started interfering in Church affairs following the communist takeover in the 1950s which led to the exclusion of the apostolic nuncio and severing of formal ties with the Vatican.

The appointment of bishops and overseeing Church governance in the country have been thorny issues for Rome and Beijing for decades.

The secretive, two-year provisional deal, which reportedly allows both parties to nominate bishops on mutual consent, has been renewed in 2020 and 2022, each time for two years.

The deal is expected to be renewed in October.

* The name of the diocese has been corrected since the publication of the story.

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