10/01/2018, 18.27
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Two Chinese bishops 'invited by the Pope' to the Synod

The two are Mgr John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yan'an, and Mgr Joseph Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde. The latter is one of the seven excommunicated bishops who reconciled with the Pope following the Sino-Vatican agreement, which Beijing leaked a few days ago.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Two bishops from the People's Republic of China will take part in the Synod on Youth, which begins on 3 October.

Speaking at a press conference today, the general secretary of the Synod, Card Lorenzo Baldisseri, said that the two “were invited by the Pope, as a result of the [Sino-Vatican] agreement, and the invitation was accepted by the other party, so the bishops will come to Rome."

The cardinal added that "the situation [is] very complex" and that the two Chinese prelates "should already be on their way to Rome". It is not yet clear where they will be staying.

Before the Vatican announcement, Wang Zuo'an, current number two of the United Front reported this information a few days ago to the representatives of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops, citing the names of Mgr John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, bishop of Yan'an, and Mgr Joseph Guo Jincai, bishop of Chengde.

Mgr Guo is one of the seven bishops who recently reconciled with the Pope. He had been ordained in 2010 without papal mandate. For him, the Vatican also created a new diocese, Chengde, which had already been established by the Chinese government but recognised by the Holy See.

In the past, in 1998, John Paul II had invited two bishops for the Synod on Asia (Matthew Duan Yinming and Joseph Xu Zhixuan, bishops of Wanxian), but their chairs remained empty for the entire meeting.

In 2005, Benedict XVI invited four bishops for the Synod on the Eucharist, two official bishops (Anthony Li Duan of Xian and Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai) and two underground bishops (Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar and Lucas Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang). But the government did not allow them to attend.

The two bishops authorised by Beijing to come to Rome for the Synod on Youth belong to the clergy registered with the government.

Mgr Yang, 54, was ordained with a papal mandate on 14 July 2010 and was the first priest ordained after the reopening of Chinese seminaries in 1980, following Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power. He studied in Rome, at the Urbaniana University.

Mgr Guo, 60, was ordained bishop (without papal mandate) on 20 November 2010. At the time, some bishops in communion with the Pope were forced to take part in his ordination. He is also the general secretary of the Council of Chinese bishops, a body not recognised by the Holy See.

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