The Beijing-recognized Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association plans to appoint a new bishop today as previously reported by CNA. The bishop-elect has publicly declared his loyalty to the Pope.
Reverend Joseph Gan Junqiu will be installed at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the southern city of Guangzhou, the city formerly known as Canton.
Since 1951, Catholics in China have been split between the state-sponsored Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and an underground church loyal to Rome. The state-sponsored church often refuses to consult with the Holy See in its appointment of bishops, a cause of friction between the Holy See and Beijing.
Lu Guocun, a vice-chairman of the state church, said he did not know whether the Vatican supported Father Gan’s ordination.
"Our Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association really doesn't concern itself with such things," said Lu.
In Rome, a Vatican official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue said the 43-year-old Father Gan has the Holy See’s approval because the priest has openly declared his fidelity to Rome.
AsiaNews also reports that Gan has publicly declared his loyalty to the Pope and that his appointment has Vatican approval.
Father Gan is a native of the southern province of Guangdong and studied in Belgium, France, and Hong Kong.