Vatican confirms authority of bishop abducted by Chinese officials

Vatican confirms authority of bishop abducted by Chinese officials

Catholic World News – September 21, 2016

The Vatican has confirmed that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin has become the Bishop of Wenzhou, following the death of Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang.

Bishop Zhu died earlier this month, at the age of 90, after a long battle with cancer. Bishop Shao had already been named by the Holy See as coadjutor bishop, with the right of succession. However, Bishop Shao has not been recognized by the government-backed Patriotic Association.

Shortly before the death of the older bishop, Chinese officials took Bishop Shao into custody. Although the public explanation was that Bishop Shao was being given a “vacation tour” of northwest China, local Catholics had no doubt that he had been removed from the scene so that he could not preside at Bishop Zhu’s funeral, and so that the Patriotic Association might have an opportunity to install its own bishop, without Vatican approval.

In a September 21 statement mourning the death of Bishop Zhu, the Vatican press office appeared to guard against that possibility. The statement ended simply: “In accordance with canon law, Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, coadjutor of the same diocese, succeeds the deceased prelate.”

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