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Mainland Chinese bishops at the synod

HONG KONG (UCAN): Following the signing of the provisional agreement between the Vatican and China, two Chinese bishops were invited by Pope Francis to attend the Synod of Bishops for the first time.
 
One is Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde, in Hebei province, who was recently readmitted to communion by the pope. He also secretary-general of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), for whom a US$11 million ($86.3 million) complex comprising a cathedral, convent and residence was recently built.
 
The other is Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of Yanan, in Shaanxi province. He is the BCCCC’s vice-president and was ordained a bishop with both papal approval and government recognition in July 2010. 
 
He was the first mainland priest to receive a doctorate since the Chinese Church began to revive in the late 1970s.
 
Pope Francis in his homily at the opening Mass on October 3 said, “Today, for the first time, we have also with us two bishops from mainland China. We offer them our warm welcome: the communion of the entire episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence.”
 
After that, he choked up, according to the media.
 
Paul, a Catholic of the unofficial Church community in Hebei, said he was not discouraged by the bishops’ attendance because the pope had already accepted them. “I hope they will be influenced and reformed to be able to bear witness with actions and will not disappoint God, the pope and the faithful.”
 
John, another Catholic from the unofficial community, wondered how the synod would take care of minors in China and how these two bishops would reflect the real problems faced by Chinese young people as they are being banned from entering religious venues and being forced to renounce their beliefs.
 
John believes that the Chinese government allowed the two bishops to attend the synod as a trial balloon with the line still firmly in the hands of the government.
 
“They represent neither the Chinese Church nor the Chinese young people but the interests of the Communist Party, which is above all and most sacred,” he said.
 
According to the Vatican Insider, a source from China said that Bishop Guo and Bishop Yeung were able to attend the synod after approval from Wang Zuo-an, the director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs. 

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