CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 August 2018

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Chengde bishop launches massive expensive complex

HONG KONG (UCAN): The illicitly ordained Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde, has taken charge of what is claimed to be the biggest cathedral in northern China, which is part of a 70 million yuan (86.2 million) complex that also includes a convent and a residence.
 
Construction of the 15,000-square-metre complex was mostly paid for by the Hebei Provincial Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Hebei Catholic Administration Commission. Less than half of the amount was collected by Bishop Guo, an unnamed source said 
 
Catholics in Chengde are mostly farmers living in hardship, the source said explained, adding that their income was no way to finance such a big development. “Such a big expense is really horrid,” he said.
 
A Mass for the cathedral’s consecration was held on May 15. Concelebrated by Bishop Guo; illicitly ordained Bishop Ma Yinglin, president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC); Bishop Fang Xingyao president of the CCPA; Bishop Shen Bin, standing vice-president of the BCCCC and CCPA; Bishop Fang Jianping, Bishop Li Shan, Bishop Pei Junmin and Bishop Yang Yongqiang, and Bishop Sun Jigen, all BCCCC vice-presidents.
 
More than 800 people attended including officials of the Central United Front Work Department, State Religious Affairs Bureau and Hebei authorities along with religious sisters and laypeople.
 
At a symposium after the Mass, government officials expressed the hope that the Chengde Diocese under Bishop Guo’s leadership would continue to uphold the flag of “loving the country and the Church” and persist with the principle of independence and the direction of Sinicisation.
 
Bishop Guo responded in a speech that the new complex reflected the care and support of the Communist Party and state for patriotic religious communities and individuals.
 
He said he would not fail to follow the guidance of the president, Xi Jinping, and his socialist ideology in the new era and would live up to the expectations of the party and the government and strive to make the complex a model venue.
 
“Why did he not mention Christ and the church?” one Catholic internet commenter asked. 

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