Vatican seeks to prevent second Chinese Govt-appointed bishop

The Holy See has made a final attempt to stop the ordination of a priest from the mainland China's Diocese of Anhui, with a personal message asking him to not submit himself to the ordination.

AsiaNews reports that the ordination would follow the first unauthorised ordination that took place in Kunming last Sunday.

Lui Xinhong, a priest from the region, was ordained bishop in the Church of Wuhu in a ceremony that lasted at least an hour and a half. The principal ordaining bishop was Monsignor Wu Shizhen of Nanchang (Jiangxi). Four other bishops concelebrate.

"It gives great sorrow to see the Holy Father offended in this way", a Chinese Catholic of Bengbu said of the ordination of the new Bishop.

The two recent ordinations in Anhui and Kunming and at least 20 other expected ordinations were scheduled by the Patriotic Association, the organisation that controls the Church and that has among its aims to foster a nationalistic Church independent of Rome.

Over recent years, Beijing and Rome had arrived at a working agreement by which the Vatican had the last word on candidates for the episcopacy.

Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong stated the ambiguous behaviour of Beijing "is destroying any trust" and is putting a halt to initial steps to dialogue between China and the Vatican.

Fr Gianni Criveller, a missionary in Hong Kong says that "what is happening these days is like reliving the days of the illegal ordinations in 2000. Even then there was talk on diplomatic relations and even then the Patriotic Association wanted the illegal ordinations in order to sabotage the signalling of dialogue between China and the Holy See."

According to AsiaNews, this series of planned ordinations is a full-blown show of force on the part of the Patriotic Association.

On the part of the Vatican, as well as the official and underground Church, the idea is advancing that it could be acceptable for communities and bishops to sign up with the governmental Religious Affairs Bureau, without however adhering to the Patriotic Association, which is working for a national Church independent of Rome.

New bishop ordained in Anhui without Pope's permission (AsiaNews.it 3/5/06)

2nd Chinese ordination proceeds despite Vatican appeal (Catholic World News 3/5/06)
China's state-backed Catholic Church has ordained another bishop without the Vatican's approval (ABC Asia Pacific 3/5/06)
Viewpoints: China and the Vatican (BBC 3/5/06)
China-Vatican ties tested by second bishop (Reuters 3/5/06)
Ordination of new Bishop will harm the Church, says Chinese dissident (Catholic News Agency 3/5/06)
Vatican puzzled, alarmed by Chinese moves (Catholic World News 3/5/06)
China Consecrates Another Bishop Without Pope's Approval (Washington Post 3/5/06)
Call for talks between the Vatican and Beijing to be suspended (ABC Asia pacific 2/5/06)
China-Vatican talks 'should end' (BBC 2/5/06)
Vatican may suspend dialogue with China: Hong Kong cardinal (Deutsche Presse 2/5/06)
"A slap in the face against the Vatican": new episcopal ordination without pope's approval (AsiaNews.it 2/5/06)
China plans another illicit ordination (Catholic World News 2/5/06)
Hong Kong Cardinal: End Sino-Vatican Talks (The Guardian/Associated Press 2/5/06)
China Uncontrite Over Ordination (Zenit 1/5/06)
China ignores Vatican, consecrates new bishop for state-controlled church (Catholic News Agency 1/5/06)
Chinese Snubs Vatican on Ordination (Zenit 30/4/06)
"Apostle of the Untouchables" Beatified (Zenit 30/4/06)

4 May 2006