The bishop of Hong Kong recalls that many bishops of the People's Republic of China "cannot always have contact with the Holy Father, and they cannot even have them with bishops from other dioceses". But for Msgr. Yeung, the Sino-Vatican agreement is a step forward in the journey of communion between the Church of China and the universal Church. Card. Zen to the two bishops: "Stop being two-faced. Come home!".
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, bishop of Hong Kong, is grateful because two bishops from China are able to attend the Synod on Youth in the Vatican which began yesterday and runs until October 28th. At the same time, he points out to AsiaNews: "We all know that for many reasons, the bishops of popular China cannot always have contact with the Holy Father, and they cannot even have them with bishops from other dioceses. It is an obstacle to their pastoral ministry ".
Msgr. Giovanni Battista Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yanan and Msgr. Giuseppe Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde, are the first two bishops of the People's Republic of China able to participate in an ecclesial Synod.
Since 1965, when Paul VI established the system of the Synod, the Vatican invited some bishops from China in 1998 and 2005, but without success because the Beijing government did not give them permission to leave the country.
The two bishops who received permission from Beijing this time are two senior officials. Bishop Yang is the vice-president of the Council of Chinese bishops, a body not recognized by the Holy See (because it excludes underground bishops); Msgr. Guo is the Secretary General of the Council and also representative of the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament in which members of the Communist Party normally participate. Msgr. Guo is one of the seven excommunicated bishops, reconciled with the Pope after the Sino-Vatican agreement.
Yesterday, at the opening Mass of the Synod, Pope Francis greeted them, visibly moved, during the homily. "Today, “for the first time, we have also with us two bishops from mainland China. We offer them our warm welcome: the communion of the entire Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence".
For Msgr. Yeung, the agreement between China and the Vatican for the nominations of bishops marks a step forward in the path of communion between the Church of China and the universal Church. "Although the content of the agreement has not been published in the letter to the Catholics of China, Pope Francis has made it clear that encounter... [can] be authentic and fruitful only if it takes place through the practice of dialogue'".
"Today - continued Msgr. Yeung - the Church of China meets, knows and works together with the universal Church. I hope that they can, hand in hand, establish a future full of harmony".
However, there are criticisms of the presence of the two bishops in Rome. Card. Joseph Zen Zekiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, published a very bitter criticism on his blog in Chinese, asking the two Chinese bishops: "Stop being two faced. Come home!". And yesterday, in Italian, the Cardinal wrote: "A voice from the peripheries. The presence of the two emissaries of the persecutor and atheist government. It is an insult to good bishops in China and to the Synod of Catholic bishops! "