Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, appointed by Pope Francis as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will see the implementation of the controversial 2018 provisional accord between the Vatican and Beijing over the appointment of Catholic bishops, according to PressOne online media.
The congregation, more popularly known as Propaganda Fidei, with Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin, had played a major role in the signing of the deal that lifted the excommunication of seven bishops appointed by the Communist Party-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
The Vatican has argued that the deal would normalize relations between Beijing and the Holy See. But that meant bishops of the underground church recognized by the Vatican would have to step aside.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, has condemned the accord, saying that the Patriotic Association is “schismatic” and loyal to the Communists. He has accused the Vatican of selling out the Chinese faithful.
Zen’s critique seems to have been confirmed by a patriotic bishop who told a communist religion committee that country was greater than religion.
Linyl Bishop Fang Xingyao of Shandong province, president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said that “love for the homeland must be greater than the love for the Church,” adding that the “law of the country is above canon law.”
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Ricardo Baccay of Alaminos as archbishop of Tuguegarao to replace Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, who turned 75 last year and has retired.
Baccay, before being named to head the Alaminos diocese in Pangasinan in 2016, was himself an auxiliary bishop of Tuguegarao between 2007 and 2016.
Baccay, 58, took up his philosophical and theological studies at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Another UST Central Seminary alumnus, Fr. John Bosco Auram, has been named by Pope Francis as the new bishop of Kimbe Diocese in Papua New Guinea.
Only 46 years old, Father Auram will replace Capuchin Bishop William Regis Fey, who reached the retirement age of 75 last year.
From 2016 up to this year, Father Auram had studied for a licentiate in pastoral theology at the UST Central Seminary, where he also served as spiritual director.