Obituaries

Obituary: Bishop Thomas Zhang Huaixin of Anyang

Bishop Thomas Zhang Huaixin of Anyang, who only accepted government recognition on the basis that he did not have to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, died May 8. He was 90.

Ucanews.com reported that Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin, 45, automatically succeeds him, according to canon law. The young prelate was the first Chinese bishop with dual approval from China and the Vatican since 2012.

Due to the elderly Bishop Zhang’s stance, when Bishop Zhang Yinlin was ordained in 2015, all bishops involved in the ceremony were Vatican-approved; there was no pressure to allow an illicitly ordained bishop to take part, as has happened at some other episcopal ordinations in China.

The late bishop was lauded as a teacher and role model for Chinese Catholics.

Bishop Zhang was ordained in 1950. He was deemed a “rightist” by the government in 1958 and suffered for his faith during the political turmoil that lasted for decades until 1978.

After his “government rehabilitation” in 1980, he was secretly ordained bishop of Anyang the following year and lived and worked without government recognition.

In 2004, once he was certain he could accept government recognition without joining the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, he agreed to be openly installed as bishop.

Anyang Diocese now has 30 priests and 129 nuns from St. Joseph Convent; they serve 50,000 Catholics.

 

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