10/03/2018, 17.11
VATICAN
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Chinese priests happy to see their bishops at the Synod for the first time

During the homily, Pope Francis was moved when he addressed them "a warm welcome". The two Synodal Fathers are Mgr Joseph Guo Jincai and Mgr John Baptist Yang Xiaoting. For one priest, "Today at the Synod there are only two bishops, but in the future, we hope to see many more.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The first-time presence of Chinese bishops at a Synod is a sign of "positive change" in the relationship between Beijing and the Catholic Church, two Chinese priests told AsiaNews this morning in St Peter's Square following the opening Mass of the Synod on Youth.

Thanks to the interim agreement signed by the Holy See and the People's Republic of China, two bishops from mainland China were present in St Peter’s Square for the first time after decades.

The two Synodal Fathers (pictured), who are members of the government-registered clergy, are Mgr Joseph Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde (Hebei province) and Mgr John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yan'an (Shaanxi).

In his homily, Pope Francis was briefly moved when he addressed them "a warm welcome", briefly stopping reading his written text, comforted by the applause of the faithful in the square.

Among the latter were two Chinese priests studying in Rome, Father Marco and Father Giovanni.

For Fr Marco, "This Synod represents a historic event for all of us. We are very happy but at the same time we know that we must proceed with caution, slowly. The life of the Church in China has been difficult for a long time.

“Certainly, the agreement between the Holy See and the government can bring new things but, at the moment, it is not clear,” he added.

In China, "Catholics are divided into two communities. Their union is an important goal, and we hope this can happen. Today at the Synod there are only two bishops, but in the future, we hope to see many more.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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