Shanghai, China, Jun 29, 2005 / 22:00 pm
Hopes are high that a newly ordained bishop in Shanghai will help ease tensions and improve relations between China and the Vatican.
Hundreds of Catholics packed Shanghai's cathedral Tuesday to witness the episcopal ordination of Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi, 42. He was ordained by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, who is recognized as the bishop of Shanghai by the government-backed church of China.
Bishop Jin, 89, is stepping back from many of his administrative duties. It is believed that Bishop Xing will be formed to succeed him.
China's communist government has no formal relations with the Vatican and rejects the Pope's authority to appoint bishops. But earlier this month, Bishop Jin told the Associated Press that both Rome and Beijing authorities tacitly agreed to Bishop Xing's appointment.