state-controlled Catholic church in China has ignored urging from the
Vatican and gone ahead with the consecration of a new bishop without
the Holy See’s approval.
The Vatican had called for a delay in the appointment over concerns that the bishop is inexperienced and too closely aligned with China's communist regime.
Fr. Ma Yingling was consecrated as bishop of Kunming at a ceremony Sunday in the southwestern Yunnan province. He was shown on Hong Kong cable television wearing a mitre and waving to crowds.
While the Chinese state-controlled church does not recognize the Vatican's power to appoint bishops, many recent appointments had been approved by both sides.
Vatican-appointed bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, had called for the delay on the Vatican’s behalf. He said the Vatican needed more time to assess Fr. Ma’s qualifications, and said that ordination without Vatican approval “would be deliberately wrecking China-Vatican negotiations," reported the BBC.
China has stated repeatedly that relations with the Vatican could improve if the Holy See cuts diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
China’s state-sanctioned Catholic church has four million members, while the unofficial church that is loyal to the Pope has 10 million members.