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10/08/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – A Chinese bishop who has been at the center of a controversial Sino-Vatican agreement recently resigned during the last mass he officiated in Mindong diocese, Fujian province.

On October 4, Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong (not recognized by the government) announced his resignation after the evening mass and said he will no longer participate in public activities. He will now retreat to a life of prayer.

He shared in an official letter that he defines himself as a “fool” and a “lout”, unable to keep up with the times and with the style “of the Church in China and directly in our diocese.” He indicated he does not want to be an obstacle to what is to happen, which implies that more changes are to come once the renewal of the Sino-Vatican deal is inked.

The Vatican-China deal signed in September 2018 already pushed Bishop Guo to accept demotion to an auxiliary bishop and allowed excommunicated bishop Zhan Zilu to take his place. Yet Bishop Guo continued to be marginalized, oppressed by the government. ICC previously reported that he was kicked out from the clergy house he lived in and has been watched closely by the CCTV.

An observer told UCA News that Bishop Guo’s resignation was due to inconsistent instructions from Rome. “From the time the agreement was signed, Bishop Zhan Silu could not interfere in underground church affairs. At that time, Bishop Guo had complete power, and then, suddenly, he has no privileges … and so on. These left Bishop Guo at a loss.”

With these developments, those priests who have not joined the state-sanctioned church are likely to face even greater pressure from both China and the Vatican, the source said.

During his speech on Oct. 3 in Milan, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin reiterated the Holy See’s commitment to a provisional renewal of the agreement, which expires on Oct. 22.

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