Once-illegitimate Chinese bishop dies aged 90

An emeritus bishop, who for many years was not recognized by the Vatican, has died in northern China. He was 90 years of age.

Bishop Andrew Jin Daoyuan of Changzhi in Shanxi province died during the evening of Nov. 20. He died due to complications related to old age.

His funeral is scheduled to take place in the Immaculate Conception Church in Nantiangong village on Nov. 26.

It is understood that his funeral will be presided over by Bishop Peter Din Lingbin, 57, of the diocese. The late bishop’s body will then be buried at Nantiangong where he spent his later years.

A source, who asked not to be named told LICAS News, that Bishop Jin was “self-elected, self-ordained” without appointment of the pope on Jan. 6, 2000 in Beijing and became an illegitimate bishop.

However, he was recognized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 as a bishop with “legitimacy but without jurisdiction”.

However, the Chinese government had recognized him as the bishop of Changzhi Diocese.

Bishop Jin was ordained as a priest by the state-aligned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) in 1956 but he was made to become a farmer during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). 

The diocese’s obituary for the bishop said during this period that the “bishop had to undergo re-education for over ten years.”

Sometime after the Cultural Revolution he resumed his priesthood within the framework of the CPCA and returned to Nantiangong Church and the Changzhi Diocese.

‘Nothing but his beliefs’

Bishop Jin wrote an article in 2016, that touched on the death of his parents and what he described as a “wandering career” where he had, at one stage, nothing but his beliefs. “It was the church members of the Nantiangong Church who accepted me. The church members of the Changzhi Diocese accepted me.”

In 2016, Bishop Din was appointed by Pope Francis as the bishop of Changzhi but Bishop Jin did not preside over his ordination Mass. The Chinese government have only recognized Bishop Din as coadjutor bishop, which was inconsistent with the Holy See’s appointment.

The source said that Bishop Jin suffered a lot during his life. “He carried a lot of burdens,” said the source.

Changzhi Diocese has 53 priests, about 50 nuns and nearly 60,000 lay Catholics.

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