Vatican-China Agreement
Chinese bishop to be ordained with papal approval

.- A priest will soon be ordained to the episcopacy in China's state-recognized church with the approval of the Pope.

The elevation of Father Joseph Gan Junqiu has also been approved by the Chinese government.

Last year three bishops were ordained without the approval of Rome, but the Vatican is still trying to improve its relations with Beijing.

China's Catholics, who number between 8 and 12 million, are split between the official state church and an underground church that rejects government ties.

Father Gan's elevation to the bishopric of the Guangzhou diocese had been approved as early as January, but disagreements over who would conduct the ordination Mass caused the delay.

"With the Pope having approved his promotion, [Father Gan] has the right to decide the ordination date," the South China Morning Post quoted Father Francis Tan Tiande of Sacred Heart Cathedral as saying.

Father Gan has not yet made a decision.  "I still need to discuss it with other relevant organizations ...I would like to invite bishops from other dioceses to my ordination," Father Gan was quoted as saying.

His ordination to the episcopacy is likely to take place on December 3.

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