HONG KONG (CNS) — A Chinese bishop, asked to step aside by the Vatican last year, said he does not think he can concelebrate the Holy Thursday chrism Mass unless he agrees to China’s policy on the Catholic Church.
Bishop Guo Xijin, the former bishop of Mindong, told ucanews.com that it is currently uncertain if he could join the chrism Mass because the government refuses to acknowledge him.
“The government officials said in clarity that they do not recognize me as a bishop,” Bishop Guo told ucanews.com.
The bishop said he has been told that recognition would only come upon his applying to join the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and its church affairs committee at the provincial level.
“This needs to be done after declaring my acceptance of the policy of ‘an independent, autonomous and self-run church,'” he said. “They said: ‘You are not sincere enough and, therefore, we cannot recognize your identity.'”
The bishop, 59, said he is not considering doing what the officials are pressuring him to do.
Bishop Guo was the Vatican-approved bishop of the underground church in Mindong Diocese in southeastern China. Following the Sept. 22 signing of the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement, he was asked to step aside by Vatican officials for state-approved Bishop Zhan Silu, who was pardoned by Pope Francis.
Bishop Zhan told ucanews.com that a concelebration of the chrism Mass depends on Bishop Guo, but added that the government makes decisions.
“When Bishop Guo smooths out his relations with the government, there will be no problem,” he said.
A diocesan bishop usually celebrates the chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. The bishop will bless and consecrate oils for sacramental use with the concelebrating priests.
As a remembrance of Jesus’ institution of the sacraments of holy orders, all bishops and priests present renew their priestly vows. It’s also a sign of communion and solidarity among the clergy.
After a Rome symposium on religious freedom April 3, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, urged patience as with the September agreement, which he said was signed to bring about “normalization for the Catholic community.”
“I know that people want things immediately,” he told journalists. “History was not built in one day; history is a long process. And I think we have to put ourselves in this perspective.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Vatican official, rights group discuss decriminalizing homosexuality
NEXT: True conversion leads to hope-filled future, pope says
Share this story