Archbishop Yao Shun: China-Holy See agreement helps pastoral work

The Chinese Bishops, including Joseph Yang Yongqiang, call for unity and collaboration in the Synodal journey.

Fides interviewed the two Chinese Bishops who took part in the October Synod. Mgr Joseph Yang Yongqiang: I hope that the Chinese Church and the Universal Church can progress together on the synodal journey, doing good to the people.

It has been a great honour for me to participate in this important meeting. Together with Bishop Joseph Yang, we have come to represent the Church in China. I am also very grateful for the Pope’s invitation. I have come to the Synod with great expectations. Mgr. Antonio Yao Shun, 58, the first Bishop ordained after the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and China in September 2018, begins his interview with Fides speaking of the October Synod, where he brought with another prelate the reality of the Church in his country, finding – he says – “interest” to know more from the other participants in the assembly.

The Holy See-China Agreement improves relations

On the document that five years ago inaugurated a new season in relations between the Vatican and Beijing, Monsignor Yao Shun – who heads the diocese of Jining/Wumeng in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region – speaks of the “prevailing opinion” that the Interim Agreement is considered “very significant and important” because, he explains, “it opens the way to promote the Church’s relations with China and the Vatican, he explains, “opens the way to promote integration and unity between the Church in China and the universal Church, and facilitates the pastoral work and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Church in China”, as well as helping to improve relations between China and the Holy See.

The Church offers consolation

Archbishop Yao also points out that the first mission to which Chinese Catholics are called is “to show God’s mercy and love to all other Chinese. We care very much about the needs of society, especially the poor and the suffering, and we try to help them in every possible way,” he says, adding that “there are a number of young people and adults who ask for baptism and receive it”, attracted by “the good example set by parishioners and the loving, encouraging and comforting attitude of the local Church towards them”.

Mgr Yang Yongqiang: may the Church in China always do good

The other Chinese Bishop present in Rome in October expressed himself in the same vein, thanking the Pope for having had during the Synod “the opportunity to share my journey of faith while listening to the journey of others”. Mgr Joseph Yang Yongqiang, 53, Bishop of Zhoucun, in the Chinese province of Shandong, also spoke to Fides, recalling in particular the passages of his life as a Christian and then as a priest, with his first pastoral commitments in some villages. “I liked the pastoral work in the parish very much, as well as the work in the seminary,” he said, “so I devoted myself full time to Catholic works in the province. I have faced many problems and challenges, always carrying the Lord in my heart, so joy has always accompanied me”. His final wish is that “the Church in China and the universal Church may progress together in Jesus Christ, giving glory to the Lord and doing good to the people”.