China’s state-sanctioned Catholic church said Tuesday that it plans to ordain another bishop without approval from the pope, despite renewed diplomatic efforts to end long-standing hostility between China and the Vatican.
The ascension of Wang Renlei, vicar general of Xuzhou diocese in southern China, will mark the third time in seven months that a bishop has been installed by the government’s Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association without Vatican approval. According to the association, he will be consecrated Thursday in a ceremony presided over by several bishops loyal to the government-sanctioned church.
Liu Bainian, the association’s deputy chairman, said that the imminent retirement of Xuzhou’s present bishop, Qian Yurong, 94, made choosing a replacement urgent and that there was no time to go through the procedure for Vatican approval. “I believe Rome will understand what we did,” he said in a telephone interview. [Full Text]
Related CNN’s report: “Pope excommunicates China bishops”