09/08/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – SYNOD – CHINA

Mgr Aloysius Jin Luxian (Profile)

 

Mgr Aloysius Jin Luxian was born in 1916. He has spent 18 years in prison and 9 in re-education camps. He was arrested the first time on September 8, 1955, in the same raid that saw the arrest of then Bishop of Shanghai Ignatius Gong Pinmei, whom Pope John Paul II made cardinal in pectore in the consistory of 1979.

In 1985 he was consecrated the official Bishop of the diocese of Shanghai with the recognition of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association but without the apostolic mandate, i.e. without the Pope's approval. He later requested and received the communion with Rome. Ever since, he has tried to bridge the gap with the underground Church. Through his pastoral work he has also tried to modernise the diocese.

Given his inside channels in the government, Bishop Jin was the first to reopen a national theological seminary which is now among the most modern in the country. In so doing he was able to develop the place Catholics have made for themselves in Shanghai's culture and society.

Last June 28, he consecrated the new Auxiliary Bishop of his diocese, 42-year-old Joseph Xing Wenshi.

Bishop Xing is the first Chinese Bishop under Pope Benedict XVI. Although he was named to the post by John Paul II before the latter's death, he was voted by a majority of the priests, nuns and laity of his diocese, approved by both Beijing and the Vatican and consecrated by Archbishop Jin.

Bishop Xing's election could end the division of the diocese of Shanghai, one of the most active in China because it currently has two bishops. In addition to Archbishop Jin, there is also Joseph Fan Zhongliang, who belongs to the underground Church but who is also very ill and under house surveillance.

The diocese of Shanghai has some 140,000 Catholics in the official Church with 110 churches and 70 priests.

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