Now, the Holy See Press Office released a statement saying the terms of the agreement were violated by Chinese authorities.
“It was with surprise and regret that the Holy See learned of the news of the ‘installation ceremony’ that took place on 24 November in Nanchang, of H.E. Bishop Giovanni Peng Weizhao, Bishop of Yujiang (Jiangxi Province), as ‘Auxiliary Bishop of Jiangxi.'”
Weizhao’s installation did not take “place in conformity with the spirit of dialogue that exists between the Vatican parties and the Chinese parties and what has been stipulated in the Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops of 22 September 2018,” said the statement.
The statement explained further that “prolonged and intense pressure by the local authorities” prompted the installation.
“The Holy See hopes that similar episodes will not be repeated, is awaiting the appropriate communication about the matter from the Authorities, and reaffirms its complete willingness to continue the respectful dialogue concerning all of the matters of common interest.”
Weizhao was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014. However, Jiangxi is “not recognized by the Holy See” as a diocese.
The state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association said Weizhao swore an oath to “guide Catholicism to adapt to socialist society” at his installation.
Pray for the Church in China!