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Newly installed Chinese bishop believed to be OKed by both Vatican and Beijing

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Ceremony near Shanghai sees installation of prelate who succeeded aging bishop three years ago.

A month away from the end of a two-year provisional agreement between China and the Vatican on the joint appointment of bishops, a prelate believed to be approved by both parties was installed in a closed ceremony near Shanghai.

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) reported that officials of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and Bishops’ Conference of Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), two Beijing-approved organizations, led the installation ceremony of Bishop Jin Yangke of Ningbo Diocese in Zhejiang province in eastern China Tuesday. Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, chairman of the BCCCC and vice-chairman of the CCPA, led the ceremony.

“The installation of 62-year-old Bishop Jin is believed to be the result of negotiations since the Vatican-China pact was signed in September 2018,” said UCA News.

Bishop Jin, who belongs to the state-approved Church, has been a bishop since 2012. His predecessor, Bishop Mathew Hu Xiande, a Vatican-appointed bishop, secretly ordained him as his coadjutor, to succeed him when he died. Bishop Hu died in 2017.

“As he approached 80 years and was getting feebler, Bishop Hu felt compelled to ordain Jin as his coadjutor bishop, which he did, quietly, on 28 November 2012,” reported AsiaNews. “Upon Hu’s death, Bishop Jin succeeded him without much fanfare, not only as head of the Diocese, but also of the local branch of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.”

At the ceremony, Bishop Jin made a solemn vow to “lead the diocese to abide by China’s constitution, uphold the unity of the motherland and social harmony, and love the country and the Church,” according to the UCA News report:
He also vowed to insist on the Church’s autonomy, adhere to the direction of Chinese Catholicism in China, and contribute to the realization of the “Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
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