CNA Staff, Nov 24, 2020 / 08:00 am
The Chinese Patriotic Association announced Monday the ordination of a new bishop of Qingdao.
The episcopal ordination of Thomas Chen Tianhao, 陈天浩, took place on Nov. 23 in Qingdao Cathedral with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association Chairman Bishop Fang Xingyao presiding, according to a statement and photos on the association’s website.
Chen, 58, had previously served as the president of the Patriotic Association of Qingdao in Shandong Province in 1998 and as a National Patriotic Association Standing Committee member since 2010. He was ordained a priest in 1989 after studying at a seminary in Shandong.
In 2019, Chen led a Shandong Province standing committee meeting to “study the spirit” of a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in which the achievements of the United Front Work Department were celebrated, according to Chinese Patriotic Association.
The Vatican did not announce the appointment of a bishop of Qingdao prior to this ordination. On Nov. 24, Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni confirmed that “Thomas Chen Tianhao is the third bishop appointed and ordained in the regulatory framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China on the appointment of bishops.”
Bruni added that “other episcopal consecrations are certainly foreseen in the future because various processes for the new episcopal appointments are underway.”
When the Vatican announced the renewal of its two-year agreement with China on Oct. 22, a L’Osservatore Romano article lauded the results of the agreement, saying that Bishop Antonio Yao Shun, of Jining Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia, and Bishop Stefano Xu Hongwei, of Hanzhong in Shaanxi Province, had been appointed under its framework.
There are Chinese sources that indicate that Chen was first elected and appointed bishop of Qingdao on Nov. 19, 2019, according to Asia News.