Rome Newsroom, Oct 6, 2020 / 11:00 am
Ahead of the expected renewal of the Vatican-China deal this month, the former underground bishop of Mindong has announced his complete resignation from public life.
Bishop Guo Xijin, 62, wrote in a letter published by Asia News Oct. 5 explaining that he was retiring to concentrate on prayer because he does not “want to become an obstacle to progress.”
Guo was an underground bishop who previously agreed to become an auxiliary bishop so that state-appointed Bishop Zhan Silu would be recognized by the Vatican as the bishop of Mindong in China’s coastal Fujian province in December 2018 at the request of Pope Francis.
But Bishop Guo did not obtain formal recognition from the Chinese government after stepping aside because he refused Beijing’s demand that he register with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
Guo announced at a Sunday Mass Oct. 4 that he would no longer preside over any public Masses with the presence of the faithful and said all administrative matters associated with the diocese should be referred to Bishop Zhan.
“With the exception of confession, for reasons of personal knowledge, for all other matters they should refer to the bishop himself or should go directly to Ningde [a city also known as Mindong], to present them to Bishop Zhan Silu,” Guo said.
He also included a note saying that he would no longer receive any tithes and instructing that all tithes should be delivered directly to the diocese for Zhan to administer.
Zhan was excommunicated after China installed him as bishop in 2006. But he was reconciled to the Holy See as a part of the provisional agreement signed on Sept. 22, 2018 between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China.