Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John Lee Juo-wang, 54, who took office on 1st January. In a letter to the diocese, the prelate says he has “serious psychological and physical problems” and asks the community for their prayers.
Tainan (AsiaNews) – A few months after his inauguration, Bishop John Lee Juo-wang of Tainan has left the helm of the diocese.
Pope Francis, who accepted the resignation of the 54-year-old prelate on Saturday, appointed his predecessor, Mgr Lin Chi-nan Wood, as apostolic administrator.
The news took the diocese by surprise. Bishop Lee was ordained and installed only on 1 January. Born and raised in the community of Tainan, he was appointed on 14 November.
The local diocese covers a territory with a population of almost 2 million people, including 7,500 Catholics.
In a letter to the diocese, Bishop Lee explains his decision by saying that he had “psychological and physical problems.”
“After long prayers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I humbly accept that I have a serious health problem,” he writes, adding that he chose to resign “for the good of the diocese.”
Thanking everyone for their love, affection and accompaniment and asking for understanding and prayers, the prelate notes that without the assignment of the episcopal ministry he can organise himself for the medical treatment and care he needs.
As for the future of the diocese, he points to the problems of evangelisation, education in the faith, the family and young people as challenges that “we must have the courage to face, with the commitment of all”.
“Through prayer and reading, I better understand what Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Romans (12:2): “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
“May the Lord bless you. May He carry you through the pandemic, give salvation to the dead, health to the sick, work for everyone. I also pray for priests who are victims of pressure.”
When he was appointed, Bishop Lee’s singular history made the headlines. The son of financially strapped refugees with many children who arrived in Taiwan in 1950, he was entrusted to a Lee family from the same village.
Later however, the Lee family itself encountered many difficulties, and the boy was adopted by the Huang family.
After becoming a priest, thanks to his experience, he devoted himself to marginalised children and young people.