Vatican to Ordain 'Communist-Friendly' Bishop to Wuhan
Catholic Church accepts Communist Party loyalist
The Vatican has accepted Communist Party loyalist Father Joseph Cui Qingqi as the new bishop of Wuhan, according to reports.
Cui Qingqi will be ordained on September 8.
AsiaNews reported on Sunday that Father Cui was the only candidate presented by Church bodies who are loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to take the post in Wuhan.
“Obviously, the Vatican was unable to refuse the appointment, even if the concrete possibilities of assessing its suitability were evidently limited."
Since the renewal of the Sino-Vatican agreement on the naming of bishops, Cui’s will be the fourth episcopal ordination.
Father Cui is known to be loyal to the interests of the CCP against clergy loyal to Rome.
Wuhan clergy sought to rule on the reassignment of priests to parishes in the diocese without the approval of CCP authorities in 2012.
Under the leadership of Father Joseph Shen Guo’an, they drafted a list of assignments and transfers between parishes, who had been temporarily in charge of the Wuhan diocese in the absence of a bishop.
During a solemn Mass in the diocese, Father Shen announced the reassignment of the priests, which was met with praise from the congregation.
But government officials interceded and interrogated priests and warning against any changes.
The authorities “recalled from Beijing another priest from the diocese, Father Cui Qingqi,” La Stampa reported at the time, who “was seen to be with government officials before arriving at the diocese.”
After Father Shen “resolutely implemented the transfer decision” against the wishes of the government, the provincial Religious Affairs Bureau dismissed him from duties along with several other priests.
The Vatican Radio reported the provincial authorities established a five-member management committee led by Father Cui Qingqi, “who is said to be close to the government."
The installation of Father Cui was a way of remedying “an escalating standoff between authorities and the Church in the province.”
During the launch of the new team, no priests or nuns except Fr. Cui were allowed to speak, the report said.
It added the government’s reshuffle “effectively overrules church leaders in Wuhan who want to decide on the allocation of priests to parishes themselves.”
The 2012 elevation of Father Cui was “the latest example of interference by authorities in Wuhan” in the life of the Church, Vatican Radio observed.
AsiaNews noted that the consecration of the bishop of Wuhan “had long been hoped for, as proof and symbol of the autonomy of the official Church recognized and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”