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Vatican – China. The dispute over the nomination of the Bishop of Shanghai has been settled, there is a decision by Pope Francis

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The Vatican has announced that the conflict with China over the appointment of the Bishop of Shanghai, Joseph Shen Bin, has been resolved. The previous bishop of the Haimen diocese took over the diocese in Shanghai this spring by unilateral decision of the Chinese authorities and without the consent of the Holy See. Pope Francis has now approved this choice.

In the Saturday Newsletter the Vatican There was information about the papal appointment of Joseph Shen Bin, ordinary of Shanghai, whom Francis transferred from the diocese of Haimen in Jiangsu province. In recent months, the case has caused serious tensions between the Vatican and Beijing.

The 53-year-old Bishop of Shanghai, appointed by the authorities China, and now approved by the pope, is president of a body called the College of Chinese Catholic Bishops. Francis’ decision is therefore a gesture of good will not to exacerbate difficult relations with the Chinese authorities regarding the nomination of bishops.

“Holy Father Francis decided to heal the irregularity”

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– The Holy Father Francis decided to heal the canonical irregularity that occurred in Shanghai, with the aim of the good of the diocese and the fruitful exercise of pastoral ministry by the bishop – said the secretary of state of the Holy See Cardinal Pietro Parolin in an interview with the Vatican media.

“The Holy Father’s intention is above all pastoral and will allow Bishop Shen Bin to act more calmly to promote evangelization and foster ecclesial communion,” he said. in this diocese, such as the situation of the two auxiliary bishops, added Cardinal Parolin.

In this context, the Secretary of State recalled that Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin could not minister there, and Bishop Giuseppe Xing Wenzhi had resigned.

Vatican-China relations

In 2018, the Vatican reached an interim deal with Beijing on the issue, after years of tension over Chinese authorities appointing bishops without the pope’s approval. This agreement was renewed last year. It is not fully respected by the Chinese side.

A month later, the Holy See expressed its surprise and regret at another nomination that had not been agreed with it. Cardinal Parolin said that in the event of “new and unexpected situations” efforts would be made to resolve them “in good faith and with farsightedness.” – Trusting in the wisdom and good will of all, we hope to achieve positive results, useful to continue along the path, overcoming all difficulties – explained Cardinal Parolin. “We must together prevent situations of conflict that cause discord and misunderstanding in Catholic communities, and the good implementation of the agreement is one of the means to do this, together with sincere dialogue,” he stressed.

As the Secretary of State of the Holy See pointed out, “at this crucial moment in the implementation of the agreement, good will, consent and cooperation are needed.” The Vatican has declared that it is “determined to ensure that the road continues”.

Main photo source: Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images



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