Bishop emeritus Stefano Yang Xiangtai of Hebei in China was reportedly brought to a hospital this week due to “serious health conditions.”
A report on AsiaNews said an appeal for prayers for the bishop appeared on social network Weixin but it was later blocked by the government.
Bishop Yang, who is 99 years old, has been hospitalized for several days already, said the report, adding that he had difficulty breathing.
“Pray for the bishop and ask the Lord to give Msgr. Yang the strength to face illness and suffering. Pray that he will recover soon!” read the Weixin post.
Bishop Yang suffered a heart attack in June 2011 upon hearing about the abduction of his successor, Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Sun Jigen. The police took Bishop Sun three days before his ordination.
The AsiaNews report said Bishop Yang is not an “underground” bishop, but he has never submitted to the “patriotism” linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
In 2015, he supported the protests of Wenzhou clergy against the demolition of crosses in churches in Zhejiang province.
He also launched a novena of prayer and a day of fasting as a gesture of reparation after learning of the theft of three tabernacles and the desecration of the Eucharist in a church in the village of Xiao Di Ba in June 2016.