By making public a list of mainland bishops invited to a world conference in Rome next month, the Vatican showed it had no respect for the mainland's 5 million Catholics and it despised the government-recognised Catholic church, Xinhua yesterday quoted an official church spokesman as saying. The spokesman said the official church found it 'incomprehensible' that the Vatican made public the invitations even though it knew at least two of the bishops invited would not be able to attend because they were too old or in ill heath. If some or all of the bishops do not go to Rome, it could be embarrassing to the central government. 'The Chinese Catholic Bishop College and China Patriotic Catholic Association initially thought it was a good sign by the Vatican in normalisation of Sino-Vatican ties by recognising the Bishop College and the Patriotic Catholic Association in inviting the bishops,' the spokesman said. 'We have asked the Chinese government to liaise with the Vatican through diplomatic channels about the invitations,' the spokesman said. The spokesman said the Chinese side could not understand why the Vatican made the invitations public. 'We express regret and find it difficult to understand,' the spokesman said. 'If the Vatican is sincere about improving relations, it should take concrete steps [to show its sincerity] instead of putting up new obstacles.' The four bishops invited by the Vatican are: Shanghai Bishop Jin Luxian , Xian Bishop Li Duan , Fengxiang Bishop Li Jingfeng and Qiqihar Bishop Wei Jingyi . Both Bishop Li Duan and Bishop Li Jingfeng are in their late 70s or 80s and have indicated they would not be able to attend the October meeting. Bishop Wei is said to be from the underground Catholic church. Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun was also invited.