Why a bishop in Taiwan resigned only six months after installation

Episcopal ordination Daniel Ibanez/CNA

The Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Tainan in Taiwan resigned six months after his ordination and installation on Jan. 1, 2021, citing physical and mental problems.

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop John Lee Juo-Wang on June 19, said a report from Agenzia Fides. Bishop Lee, the first native of Taiwan to be consecrated a bishop in 30 years, cited “serious psychological and physical problems” as reasons for his resignation.

“After long prayers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I humbly accept that I have a serious health problem,” he said in a letter to the faithful of his diocese.

He said he chose to resign “for the good of the diocese” and asked for prayers from the faithful.

“Through prayer and reading, I better understand what Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Romans (12:2): ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect,” wrote the bishop.

“May the Lord bless you. May He carry you through the pandemic, give salvation to the dead, health to the sick, work for everyone,” he said.

“I also pray for priests who are victims of pressure,” added the bishop, as he urged the faithful to have “the courage to face, with the commitment of all,” the challenges of evangelization.

Bishop Lee was born on Nov. 2, 1966, in Tainan city, Taiwan, to parents who arrived as refugees from mainland China. 

One of nine siblings, he was given up for adoption. The first family that adopted him had financial problems, and he was then adopted a second time by a family that raised him as a Catholic.

He attended a Salesian school in Tainan and entered the minor seminary at the age of 12. He studied philosophy and theology at St. Pius X Seminary in Tainan.

He was ordained priest on Jan. 1, 1993, and was assigned as assistant pastor at the cathedral parish. He later became parish priest of the Holy Name of Jesus parish until 1999.

He earned a licentiate degree in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He was president of the Commission for the Promotion of Vocations, and later became chancellor of the diocese in 2017, and then its vicar general in 2019.

Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Tainan on Nov. 14, 2020, and he was consecrated bishop on January 1, 2021. 

The Diocese of Tainan has a population of about two million people, 7,500 of whom are Catholics. The pope has appointed Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan, bishop emeritus of Tainan, as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.