The announcement comes months after the Vatican accused China of violating their agreement on the appointment of bishops.
The Vatican has announced that Chinese authorities have appointed a new bishop in Shanghai, China’s largest Roman Catholic diocese, in apparent violation of a bilateral treaty between the two states.
The Holy See was informed “a few days ago” of China’s decision to transfer Bishop Shen Bin from Haimen in Jiangsu province to the diocese of Shanghai, the Vatican said on Tuesday.
It added that it learned about his official payment earlier from the media.
“For now, I have nothing to say about the Holy See’s assessment,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
The announcement came just four months after the Vatican accused China of violating its bilateral agreement on the appointment of bishops by installing bishops in a diocese not recognized by the Holy See.
The controversial, secret contract was renewed last October, for the second time since 2018.
The deal was intended to ease mainland China’s long-standing divide between an underground flock loyal to the Pope and the state-backed official church.
For the first time since the 1950s, both sides recognized the Pope as the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
There was no immediate response from the Chinese embassy in Rome to the Vatican’s announcement on Tuesday.
Not recognized by the Vatican
Catholic news agency AsiaNews said Shen was appointed by the Chinese Bishops’ Council, which he heads.
It is not recognized by the Vatican and is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Shanghai Diocese said on its website that about 200 people attended Shen’s inauguration.
“Bishop Shen Bin said he will continue to carry forward the great tradition of patriotism and love of the Shanghai Catholic Church. [and] adhere to the principle of independence and self-governance,” the message reads.
The diocese of Shanghai has been vacant for 10 years since the death of the late Bishop Jin Luxian in April 2013.
The Holy See said the city’s auxiliary bishop, Ma Daqin, should rule the diocese, but he has been under house arrest since 2012 when he publicly rejected the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the communist body that governs the local church.
Only six new bishops were appointed in 2018 after a deal between the Vatican and China. Its opponents say this is evidence that it is not having the desired effect. They also pointed to increasing restrictions on religious freedoms for Christians and other minorities in China.