China installed a controversial new Catholic bishop on Sunday in a ceremony reflecting the split between the Vatican and the Chinese state-run church that divides villagers in this heavily Catholic corner of the country.
Zhan Silu presided over a Mass marking his appointment as bishop of Mindong Diocese in eastern China’s Fujian province. The cathedral in the small city of Ningde was crowded to overflowing with a mix of urban residents and farmers in frayed clothes, welcoming his formal elevation after years as second-string to an infirm bishop who died last year.
Priests in both the state-approved church and the “underground” church around Ningde told Reuters they were upset by Zhan’s elevation, warning it may stoke tensions between Beijing and the Vatican, and between the two sides of China’s divided church.
See also the New York Times’ “A Bitter Game: Beijing Battles With Vatican” (link)