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Vatican says China violated agreement on bishops

The Holy See objected to a Chinese bishop being installed in a diocese not recognized by the Vatican. File Photo by Claudio Peri/EPA-EFE
The Holy See objected to a Chinese bishop being installed in a diocese not recognized by the Vatican. File Photo by Claudio Peri/EPA-EFE

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Vatican said on Saturday that China had violated its terms on the appointment of Catholic bishops.

The church took issue with the appointment of a bishop to a diocese which has not been officially recognized.

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The Holy See noted "with surprise and regret" that Bishop John Peng Weizhao had been installed as an "auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi," a diocese that is not officially recognized, the Vatican said in a statement.

Peng's installation ceremony in Nanchang, China, "did not occur in accordance with the spirit of dialogue ... and what was stipulated in the Provisional Agreement on the Appointment of Bishops, on Sept. 22, 2018," the Vatican said.

The provisional agreement between the Holy See and China was first signed in 2018 and renewed for another two years in October 2020. The terms of the deal have not been made public.

Peng had been appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 and was secretly ordained as an underground bishop of Yujiang -- something for which he was arrested by Chinese authorities and held in custody for six months, according to the Catholic News Agency.

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Bishop John Baptist Suguang Li of Nanching presided over the installation ceremony with about 200 people in attendance.

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