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Retired “underground” bishop Joseph Zhu Baoyu of Nanyang from central Henan province was installed as a government-recognized bishop today.
The prelate, 90, who was secretly consecrated in 1995 with Vatican approval, spent many years in detention or undergoing reform-through-labor. Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation last year.
Catholic sources said Bishop Zhu decided to seek recognition from the civil authorities in order to claim back Church properties that were confiscated during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).
Nanyang diocese has about 20,000 Catholics scattered in Nanyang city, two districts and 11 counties in southwestern Henan.
Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of Yan’an, vice-president of the government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), officiated at the installation ceremony.