Tomorrow the bishop of Chengde, Msgr. Giuseppe Guo Jincai, will ordain 3 priests for the so-called diocese of Zhangjiakou. It is a cause of great pain and scandal among the faithful of Hebei and many say that “once again the Agreement between China and the Vatican has been betrayed.” Also because there are some candidates with mental problems and others with moral problems among the ordinands.

Msgr. Guo Jincai is one of the bishops whose excommunication was lifted by Pope Francis, on the occasion of the Sino-Vatican Provisional Agreement (22 September 2018). Msgr. Guo was ordained bishop in 2010 without a papal mandate. At the signing of the Agreement, the pope also established the diocese of Chengde for him, which already existed according to the administrative divisions of the government, but had not been recognized by the Holy SeeBishop Guo is also one of the two bishops who was allowed to participate in part of the Synod on Youth.

The diocese of Zhangjiakou is another diocese established in 1980 by the Chinese government, but currently not recognized by the Vatican. It is entrusted by the government to a diocesan administrator, Fr. Wang Zhengui.

From the Holy See standpoint, the territory of Zhangjiakou belongs to two different dioceses: Xuanhua, entrusted to Msgr. Agostino Cui Tai, underground bishop currently being held in an unknown location by the police; and Xiwanzi, entrusted to Msgr. Joseph Ma Yanen.

It was Fr. Wang who pushed Msgr. Guo to ordain the 3 new priests for the so-called diocese of Zhangjiakou.

The problem arises from the fact that the ordination will be carried out without any prior consultation with the two bishops who, from the point of view of the Holy See, are responsible for the faithful of Zhangjiakou, even if neither is recognized by Beijing.

By dispensing with the consultation with the actual pastors, the Holy See is circumvented and the episcopal structure is designed according to the wishes of the Chinese government. But this, in itself, contravenes the premises of the Agreement, according to which, pending a dialogue on the administrative structure of the dioceses and on the recognition of unofficial bishops, everything was to supposed to remain on standby.

Failure to consult with the other two bishops also leads to new problems. Of the three candidates expected to receive the priesthood tomorrow, one was expelled from the seminary because he exhibited mental problems. Another candidate – according to the faithful – has moral problems.

Tomorrow’s priestly ordination would appear to have been hurriedly organised by Msgr. Guo Jincai, who is vice-president of the National Patriotic Association. The Catholic faithful maintain that Msgr. Guo and Fr. Wang Zhenghui, are pushing through a hasty ordination in order to “to impress the city and the government,” given that the Winter Olympics will be held in Zhangjiakou (February 4-20, 2022).

And with the advent of so many tourists, there will be a need for many priests, which the so-called diocese of Zhangjiakou does not have. In fact, it has only 10 priests. The diocese of Xuanhua has 46; that of Xiwanzi has 23 priests.

The above comes from a May 10 story posted on AsiaNews.