New bishop ordained in E.Chinas Qingdao, first after renewal of China-Vatican appointment agreement

The ordain ceremony of Bishop Chen Tianhao in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on Monday Photo: Catholic Church in China

A new bishop was ordained in a Catholic cathedral in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province on Monday, marking the first bishop consecration publicly reported after China and Vatican announced the renewal of their agreement on bishop appointments in late October.

Thomas Chen Tianhao, the new bishop, was consecrated in the cathedral of the Qingdao diocese on Monday with more than 200 people attending, according to the report of Catholic Church in China on Monday.

Chinese Catholic observers confirmed with the Global Times on Tuesday that this is the first bishop appointment after the renewal of China-Vatican agreement. Though the Holy See is not mentioned in the Chinese report, Chen should have been recognized by both Chinese government and the Holy See, an expert noted.

Due to virus prevention measures, the ceremony was held "in a simple but grand fashion," the report said. A total of 21 priests, along with 210 nuns and believers attended the event.

Bishop Fang Xingyao, chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and bishop of Linyi diocese of Shandong, hosted the ceremony.

Chen, 58 from Pingdu county of Qingdao, became the candidate for the bishop of Qingdao diocese on November 19, 2019. He graduated from the Holy Spirit Seminary of Shandong in December 1989.

China and the Vatican decided to extend a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops by another two years, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on October 22, marking a big step toward what insiders said are greater and deeper future ties between the two sides.