Ordination of bishops endorsed by Beijing and Vatican given go-ahead

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am

The ordinations of three bishops endorsed by both Beijing and the Holy See have been agreed to, with Father Francis Lu Shouwang being ordained as bishop of Hubei's Yichang Diocese yesterday.

The ordination of Father Lu was chaired by Father Louis Yu Runchen , the bishop of Hangzhou in Zhejiang , at St Francis' Cathedral in Yichang , an announcement posted on the Yichang Diocese's website said.

Father Lu, 41, was elected bishop-candidate last December. He had been diocesan administrator after former bishop Paul Francis Zhang Mingqian died in July 2005.

Catholic news agency Ucan said the ordination of Father Joseph Gan Junqiu , 43, as bishop of Guangzhou Diocese would be held on Tuesday.

Guangzhou Diocese has not had a bishop for years. The Vatican approved Father Gan's promotion 10 months ago, but the China Catholic Bishops' College - controlled by the state - has delayed giving its formal endorsement.

Ucan also said that 95-year-old Bishop John Liu Jingshan of Ningxia had announced that he would ordain Father Joseph Li Jing , 40, as his coadjutor next Saturday to indicate that Father Li would become the next bishop of Ningxia Diocese.

Negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing on resuming diplomatic ties were put on ice in November last year when Beijing unilaterally ordained Wang Renlei as coadjutor bishop of Xuzhou without seeking the Holy See's agreement.

But it appeared that the authorities hoped to improve Sino-Vatican relations following Pope Benedict's letter to Chinese Catholics in July.