An 83-year-old Chinese bishop has been installed as the third bishop to be recognised by the Communist regime since the Vatican-China 2018 agreement on the appointment of bishops.
Bishop Peter Lin Jiashan was officially appointed as head of the Fuzhou Diocese in Fujian province last week.
Since 1997, Bishop Lin had refused to register with the government, and thus had not been recognised by Chinese authorities.
Fujian province’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Department said that Fr Wang Yuliang, an official of the state-approved bishops’ conference in China, read a letter of approval from the bishops’ conference. In the letter, Bishop Lin pledged to obey God, fulfil the pastoral duties of a bishop and proclaim the Gospel to lead the diocese.
The bishop also said priests and Catholics should abide by the constitution of the country, uphold national unity and social harmony and love the country and the Church.
He insisted Catholics follow the directions to “sinicise the Church in our country” and contribute to the realisation of the “dream of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.
Details of the Vatican-China agreement on bishops, which has always been described as “provisional”, have never been released, but are reported to be valid only for two years unless renewed before September 2020.
The first bishop approved by China was Bishop Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou in January 2019. He retired immediately and eight days later, China recognised Bishop Jin Lugang of Nanyang.