Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod
In what could be a promising move for Vatican-China relations, Pope Benedict XVI has named four mainland Chinese bishops as members of the October Synod of Bishops.
Catholic World News reports that Church sources in Rome said two of the bishops belong to the government-approved Catholic Church in China, while the other two have been members of the underground church that has rejected official government ties. None are listed in the Vatican's official pontifical yearbook.
The appointments were announced without comment by the Vatican yesterday. Those named to the synod were:
-- Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai. The government-recognised bishop, born in 1916, recently consecrated an auxiliary bishop who is expected to become his successor, with the blessing of Rome and the approval of the Chinese government.
-- Bishop Anthony Li Du'an of Xi'an, 78, vice president of the bishops' council of the government-approved or "official" Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in China. He served three prison terms in the 1950s and '60s and is a much-respected figure by all Chinese Catholics. When he ordained an auxiliary bishop of Xi'an in July, a source in Rome said the auxiliary had the approval of the Vatican.
-- Bishop Luke Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang, who has been a leader of one of China's strongest clandestine Catholic communities. The bishop, believed to be 85, has been arrested at least once by Chinese authorities in recent years.
-- Bishop Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar, 47, another pastor of the underground church, whose arrest in 2004 brought a strong Vatican protest.
The appointments to the 2-23 October synod were seen as a potential breakthrough, in part because the full spectrum of the Catholic community in China would be represented at the Rome assembly for the first time.
"I'm very happy Pope Benedict has invited bishops from both the 'official' and 'unofficial' branches of the Catholic community, illustrating that, for the pope, the church in China is one," said Fr Bernardo Cervellera, head of the missionary news agency AsiaNews.
"The pope understands the importance of China and the importance of the church in China," Fr Cervellera said.
Fr Cervellera, who has followed events in China for many years, said it could be presumed that all four of the Chinese bishops had reconciled with the Vatican. He said the pope apparently was trying to show the Chinese government that it had nothing to fear from close ties between Rome and local churches.
Fr Cervellera cautioned, however, that it remained to be seen whether the Chinese government would allow the bishops to attend.
Pope names four mainland Chinese bishops to October synod (Catholic News Service 8/9/05)
Audiences (Vatican Information Service 8/9/05)
Other pontifical acts (Vatican Information Service 8/9/05)
President McAleese meets Pope (catholicireland.net 8/9/05)
Mgr Wei Jingyi (Profile) (AsiaNews.it 8/9/05)
Mgr Aloysius Jin Luxian (Profile) (AsiaNews.it 8/9/05)
Mgr Luke Li Jingfeng (Profile) (AsiaNews.it 8/9/05)
Mgr Anthony Li Duan (Profile) (AsiaNews.it 8/9/05)
Pope names 4 Chinese bishops as members of the Synod on the Eucharist (AsiaNews.it 8/9/05)
Pope says people called to model lives on Jesus (Catholic News Service 7/9/05)
Pope Benedict: Church in Mexico must provide 'Integral formation' in all areas of the Church; for all ages (Catholic News Agency 8/9/05)
Pope to visit Istanbul-- if Turkey allows the trip (Catholic World News 8/9/05)
Pope invites Chinese bishops to Synod meeting (Catholic World News 8/9/05)
Pope appoints new Synod participants (Catholic World News 8/9/05)
Pope Benedict XVI calls the entire Church to be involved in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist "with prayer and reflection, giving value to every opportunity, event and meeting". He also has a special word for hurrican victims in the United States and people in Iraq (Fides 5/9/05)
Closed door Cologne speeches revealed (The Tablet 10/9/05)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (7/9/05)
Christians Must Model Life on Image of Jesus, Says Pope (Zenit 7/9/05)
Irish President Meets With Pontiff (Zenit 7/9/05)
Benedict XVI Greets Mayor of Bethlehem (Zenit 7/9/05)
Pope's Brother Hospitalized in Germany (Zenit 7/9/05)
Commentary on Canticle in Colossians 1 (Zenit 7/9/05)
9 Sep 2005