On Friday the state-recognized Catholic Patriotic Association ordained a bishop with the approval of the Vatican, the Agence France-Presse reports.
Father Joseph Li Jing, 40, was ordained bishop of the northern China diocese of Ningxia, a Muslim-dominated region. The ordination took place at Yinchuan Cathedral before 2,000 congregants.
Though the Holy See had given approval for Bishop Li’s ordination three years ago, the state church only approved his election last month. Bishop Li is the third Vatican-approved bishop to be ordained this month by the government-recognized church.
The Church in China is split between the government-recognized Catholic Patriotic Association and the “underground” Church. While the official church has close to five million followers, perhaps as many as 10 million are “underground” Catholics and face police and government harassment.