(ZENIT News / Rome, 22.09.2023).- There were two surprises in the list of participants in the Synod on Synodality, which the Holy See Press Office published on Thursday, September 21. The first was the names of two Bishops of Continental China.
They are Monsignor Joseph Yang Yongqiang, Bishop of Zhoucun, Province of Shandong, and Monsignor Anthony Yao Shun, Bishop of Jining/Wumeng, in the autonomous region of Mongolia [in the] interior of China. The invitation to the two Bishops goes back directly to the Pope, but the surprise isn’t the invitation but the fact that the Chinese Government consented to the participation.
Both Yang Yongqiang, 53, as well as Yao Shun, 58, are Bishops in communion with the Pope, as a result of the secret Agreement between China and the Holy See on the appointment of Bishops in the Communist country. In fact, both were ordained Bishops after the Agreement, “thanks to the patience and clairvoyance of Pope Francis,” said a priest of the diocese of Beijing to FIDES Agency.
The diocese of Jining has 70,000 Catholics, 30 priests and 12 women religious. The diocese of Zhoucun has 16,000 Catholics and 12 priests.
The second surprise of the publication of the list of participants was the absence of someone who it had been anticipated would participate, but who asked to be dispensed from doing so: the Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria. The resignation is framed in the recent conclusive Report to the Center founded by the former Jesuit priest Marko Ivan Rupnik, in which it seems to suggest — for the discomfort of the victims — that the excommunication implemented was anomalous. Although the precise reason for the non-participation isn’t known, the Italian media has associated this recent event to the Cardinal’s absence.