.- China is preparing to ordain three priests for the state-recognized church but with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.
The new bishops are for the dioceses of Guangzhou, Ningxia and Yichang.
The Church in China is divided among open members of government-approved churches and "underground" Catholics who reject Chinese government administration.
Father Francis Lu Shouwang, 41, is scheduled to be ordained Bishop of Yichang, a city in east-central China. Bishop-elect Lu told UCA News that he now has a clearer vision of his responsibility and mission to serve the diocese with all his energy, with the cooperation of his priests.
Currently Yichang diocese has about 30,000 Catholics served by 20 young priests, one elderly priest, and 12 nuns.
Father Joseph Li Jing, 40, will be ordained coadjutor bishop by Bishop John Liu Jingshan of Ningxia.
"I hope he could lead the diocese to better development and unite the priests, but we could never sever our ties with the pope," Bishop Liu said. He noted that the two co-ordaining bishops have not been confirmed yet, but said they "must be bishops recognized by the pope." The 95 year-old Bishop Liu said that Ningxia, in central-north China, is a small diocese of 10,000 Catholics and 11 priests.
A third bishop-elect, Father Joseph Gan Junqiu, may be ordained in early December as bishop of Guangzhou, a city in southern China.
Six elderly bishops from the "open" church in China have died this year, while four bishops from the underground church have died.