The bishop would be allowed to participate, but yesterday evening he was forbidden to celebrate Mass for the religious professions of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Bishop Guo: “I am a man and not a monkey who favors the wishes of others”. The underground bishop has withdrawn his request for recognition in order not to submit to the organizations that want “the independence” of the Church. The new cathedral built with many government funds.
by Peter Zhao
Mindong (AsiaNews) – With a solemn ceremony to be held from 8 am to 11 am tomorrow, the Diocese of Mindong will consecrate the new cathedral dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, in the Jiao Cheng district, Ningde, on a hill overlooking the sea.
As underlined in a diocesan notice, the Mass for the dedication “there will be more than 20 bishops, … more than 100 priests”; there will even be “party leaders invited to attend the opening ceremony of the new church”.
However, there will be no Msgr. Vincent Guo Xijin, who withdrew his request for recognition in order not to submit to those organizations that support the “independence” of the Church, namely the Patriotic Association and the United Front.
Before the Sino-Vatican agreement, Msgr. Guo was the ordinary bishop of the diocese, recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government. In 2000, the government had instead ordained Vincenzo Zhan Silu as official bishop, but he was not recognized by the Vatican.
Following the agreement and the lifting of the excommunication of Msgr. Zhan Silu, Msgr. Guo to accepted to be demoted to auxiliary bishop to leave the ordinary see to Msgr. Zhan in obedience to a request from Pope Francis.
Msgr. Guo’s “stepping aside” was the beginning of what some in the Vatican termed “the Mindong pilot project”, whereby in acceding to the government’s demands, one could work for the reconciliation of the diocese, in which more than 80% of the priests belonged to the underground community .
Msgr. Guo asked the government to be recognized, but he made it clear that he could not submit to the organizations that want the “independence” of the Church. At first the government accepted and allowed the bishop to participate in the Chrism Mass last Holy Thursday.
But the pressures of the “independence bodies” to subdue Msgr. Guo and the priests led the bishop to withdraw his request for recognition, preferring to “face persecution together with the other priests”.
The government’s response was not long in coming: for today, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Msgr. Guo, in agreement with Msgr. Zhan, was to preside over the religious professions of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
But the government forbade it, demanding that Msgr. Zhan preside and postponing the ceremony for almost a month. The command to prohibit the participation of Msgr. Guo was confirmed last night by security forces who assured him that “this is what the government has decided”.
Msgr. Guo then decided not to participate in the dedication ceremony of the new cathedral (built with much government funding).
In a message to the priests of the diocese – which we publish in full in another article – he states: “After what happened last night, I decided not to go to the ceremony even if they come to collect me in a sedan chair. I am a man and not a monkey who favors the wishes of others. I had thought of not saying anything, but some brothers said that everyone has the right to know the truth, and what I can do is therefore communicate my decision to you. Thank you!”.