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News from the USCCA and the church in China

Three New Catholic Bishops in China 

By Tom McGuire, USCCA Board Member

St Ignatius of Antioch (50-110 AD) wrote, “Give heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you.” This ancient advice would not be possible if there were no bishop. The 2018 Provisional Agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Holy See made the ordination of three Bishops in China possible. For Catholics who have been without a bishop, this is an opportunity to heed the pastoral direction of a bishop that God may give heed to them. This is a time of building communion of the Catholic Church in China with the universal Church.

The opinions about the 2018 Provisional Agreement have been divisive. Division and quarrels among the friends of Jesus are not new. The New Testament makes clear that even on the night before Jesus was to suffer and die, he prayed: ‘May they be one as we are one.’ (John 17.11). His friends did not understand what was happening to Jesus. They were instead focused on fear about their future, which brought about division and quarrels among them. Like Jesus’ first friends, today, Catholic friends of Jesus in China and the United States are fearful of how the decisions of Church leaders may impact their future, leading to division and quarrels within the Church. Is this what Jesus was praying to prevent?

The ordination of three new Bishops in China is an opportunity for us to leave room for doubt. The ordination of three bishops may not be a bridge to friendship and dialogue between the people of China and Catholics. Rather than quarrel and create division, let us pray that the Holy Spirit will move the bishops' hearts to witness genuine reconciliation within the Church, which seemed impossible in earlier times. May all the Catholic friends of Jesus live the mission of the Church as a proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel for all people. 

John C.H. Wu, a great Chinese Catholic legal scholar, states the mission in these words. 

 “...there is no other way of loving God than by loving.

  • Love—as Christ loved

  • Compassionately Serve—as Christ served

  • Mercifully Forgive—as Christ forgave

  • Willing to suffer—as Christ suffered

  • Be Free, life-giving, and joyful—as Christ is.”

The three new bishops are: 

Bishop Wang Yuesheng, 57, of the Diocese of Zhengzhou in the Province of Kaifeng, was ordained to the episcopacy on December 16, 2023. The Diocese has been without a bishop since Bishop Faustino Tissot, a Xaverian missionary appointed by Pius Xii in 1946, was expelled in 1953.

Bishop Anthony Sun Wenjun, 53, of the newly formed Diocese of Weifang Shandong Province, was ordained to the episcopacy on January 29, 2024.

Bishop Peter Wu Yishun, 59, of the Diocese of Shaowu (Minbei) in the Province of Fujian, was ordained to the episcopacy on January 31, 2024.

I invite your comments and prayers for the good of the pastoral mission of the Catholic Church in China.


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