Chinese Bishop Joseph Shen Bin was recently appointed as the bishop of Shanghai without the Vatican’s approval. The state-sanctioned Council of Chinese Bishops chose Shen Bin, who is also the head of the council, to lead the Diocese of Shanghai.
Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said that the Holy See was informed of the Chinese authorities’ decision to transfer Shen Bin from Haimen to Shanghai a few days ago, and they learned about the installation through the media.
Asia News claims that this move violates the Vatican-China agreement on bishop appointments.
The Diocese of Shanghai has been without a Catholic bishop for 10 years.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, mentioned in March that Holy See diplomats are working on refining the provisional agreement with Beijing regarding bishop appointments, first signed in 2018.
Under President Xi Jinping’s rule, human rights and religious freedom in China have deteriorated. State officials have removed crosses and destroyed church buildings in various regions.
In November 2022, the Vatican stated that Chinese authorities had breached the terms of their provisional agreement on bishop appointments, expressing surprise and regret that Bishop John Peng Weizhao was installed as an auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi, a diocese not recognized by the Vatican.