Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The ordination of a new bishop of Guangzhou may take place next December 3rd if the Patriotic Association does not postpone the appointment. Msgr. Giuseppe Gan Junqiu, approved by the Holy See and Beijing as the new bishop of Guangzhou, has been waiting for over a year to take up his post. The obstacle is the Patriotic Associations insistence that illicit bishops, not in communion with the pope are present at the ceremony.
Msgr. Gan was elected by the diocesesan community of Guangzhou in November 2006. One month later he received Vatican approval, which was confirmed last September, but he has yet to receive the formal approval of the Council of Chinese bishops. According to AsiaNews sources the reason lies in the Patriotic Association (which controls the council) and its desire to insert a couple illicit bishops, note in communion with the pope among the ordaining bishops. In all probability the illicit bishop in question is Msgr. Ma Yinglin, ordained without Vatican agreement on April 30 2006, and present – thug not invited – at the last Episcopal ordinations of Guiyang and Beijing. In a September 21 article the Osservatore Romano, expressed “regrets” at the presence of “bishops not in communion with the Holy See” at ordinations.
According to the English language Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post, the ordination should take place on December 3. The paper also publishes a comment from Msgr. Gan who confirms that he needs to “discuss [the date] with other relevant organisations," and adds: "I would like to invite bishops from other dioceses to my ordination”.
Msgr. Gan Junqiu, 42, has long been in charge of the ordinary running of the diocese which has been without a bishop since 2001. He is known to be an intelligent pastor, faithful to the pope, committed to the evangelization of the youth and aiding the poor. He also has good relations with the government, who collaborated in the restoration of Guangzhou cathedral, dedicated to the Sacred Heart and re-opened to the public last February.