That “slap” from Beijing that puts the Pope in a quandary

A bishop returning from Asia confided that the Catholic Church in China is one cage: there is only to determine the size. The news of the appointment of a new bishop for the diocese Shanghai This week’s arrival seems to confirm this trend.

unilateral appointment

Indeed, last Tuesday the Holy See announced that it had learned of the decision of the Chinese authorities to transfer the bishop Joseph Shane Penn From Hemen Diocese to Shanghai Diocese. The last contempt, then, was to allow the Holy See to learn about the inauguration of the new bishop from the media, as emphasized in a statement by the director of the press office, Matteo Bruni.

This slap comes after four months of public outcry in Rome over the appointment of another disagreeable, Jun Peng Weichao, as auxiliary bishop of the Jiangxi diocese. not known by the Holy See – complete with a section preceded by “Actively direct Catholicism to adapt to socialist society“.

Sneaky agreement

This first impact by Beijing occurred just over a month after it was formalized extension Provisional agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China for the appointment of bishops. An agreement that has caused great tremors within the Church because it is seen as subservient and which, on the other hand, there is no intention of respecting it.

Although the content of the agreement was still secret, it can be understood from what was leaked that the selection of bishops was vested on the initiative of the representatives of the dioceses and therefore to the long arm affiliateNational Association to which the Chinese authorities oblige Catholics to register and which always proceeded to appoint bishops instead of the secret bishops appointed by Rome. However, the agreement signed for the first time in 2018 also included the final approval by the Pope of the appointment of the candidates. The case of Shanghai demonstrates, however, that Chinese authorities They have no problem not respecting the potential content of this agreement.

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The new bishop

Joseph Shenbin is the new Bishop of Shanghai. A new bishop ten years after his election as co-monsignor Thaddeus didn’t knock who has since been living under house arrest after announcing his resignation from the National Assembly on the day of his episcopal ordination. Shen Bin himself was present at that ceremony and was one of the consecrators, while the new assistant did not want Vincent Zhan Silu, a bishop who had been ordained without the consent of Rome, to lay his hands on him. The latter, then, was one of the seven illegitimately appointed bishops from whom Francis was taken Deprivation in 2018.

Shen Bin, Executive Director ofNational League and the Chinese Bishops’ Conference not recognized by the Holy See, have always applauded the provisional agreement which it defines “Peace Bridge demolished a wall that lasted nearly seventy years“thanks for the”Great efforts for dialogue by both sides“. But in the event that he was appointed to Shanghai, one side imposed his will without informing the other. this flop A diplomat who might cost Francis the new internal quarrels and embarrass the same Foreign Ministry that manages, not without some perplexity, the delicate Chinese dossier.


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