Cardinal Zen urges suspension of bishop Beijing ordained

The Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, has asked mainland China's diocese of Kunming "to suspend the episcopal ordination of Fr Ma Yinglin, because he has not received approval from the Holy See".

AsiaNews reports that the Cardinal's request was sent by fax to diocese officials in Yunan on the weekend. It says: "The Holy See until today has not approved Fr Ma Yinglin to accept episcopal ministry. Therefore, the ordaining bishop and co-ordaining bishops are requested to suspend the ordination."

The ceremony, scheduled for yesterday in Kunming in Yunan, was prepared by the Patriotic Association which wants at all costs to ordain a priest as bishop without permission from the Holy See.

Fr Ma, age 40, is currently secretary of the official Church's Council of Bishops (an episcopal conference not recognised by the Vatican) and holds various offices in the Patriotic Association, the organisation that controls the Church, and whose statutes include the goal of creating a national Church detached from the Holy See.

According to AsiaNews sources in Beijing, Fr Ma would also be of the opinion not to go ahead with this ordination, but the Vice-President of the Patriotic Association, the layman Antonio Liu Bainian, is determined to go ahead against the wishes of the Vatican.

Observers believes this new ordination would create many new problems for the Church and the government of China and is a sign of bad faith at a time China is trying to forge greater ties with the Vatican.

Cardinal Zen, Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong, was among Benedict XVI's 15 newly appointed Cardinals this year.

Card. Zen: "Suspend ordination of Kunming bishop" (AsiaNews.it 29/4/06)

Vatican objects to Chinese bishop (BBC 29/4/06)
China ignores Vatican over bishop (BBC 30/4/06)
Chinese bishop to be ordained against Pope's wishes (AsiaNews.it 28/4/06)
China plans to ordain bishop, defying Vatican (Catholic World News 28/4/06)
An Unapproved Ordination Looms in China (Zenit 26/4/06)

1 May 2006