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    » 04/24/2012, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    Changsha's new bishop ordained tomorrow

    Wang Zhicheng

    The Vatican and the government recognise 51-year-old Qu Ailin. Doubts surround the celebrating prelate, the bishop of Beijing, as to whether he is excommunicated or reconciled with the Holy See. The main celebrant might change at the last moment.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The diocese of Changsha (Hunan) will have a new bishop tomorrow when Fr Timothy Methodius Qu Ailin will be ordained in the city's Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. The 51-year-old has been approved by the Holy See and the Chinese government. Mgr Joseph Li Shan, bishop of Beijing, will be the main celebrant, sources say.

    Some of the faithful have objected to Mgr Li's participation. Since he became the vice president of the government-sanctioned Bishops' Conference, he has participated in unlawful Episcopal ordinations and has not clarified his position with the Holy See.

    In 2010 and 2011, three ordinations were carried out with papal mandate. A number of bishops have been forced to participate in such ceremonies. In the meantime, the Vatican has set guidelines to follow to avoid possible excommunication and protect believers' faith. They include a request for forgiveness and a public show of repentance by the bishop. So far, it is not known whether Mgr Li has done either of these.

    In his diocese, some of the faithful have come to his defence by highlighting his predicament. Not only does he operate in the centre of power, he is also under pressure and the watchful eye of the Catholic Patriotic Chinese Association, with the possibility of seeing funds for diocesan works cut off.

    Some China watchers are saying that given Mgr Li's situation, someone else is likely to preside over tomorrow's ceremony.

    The province of Hunan in southern China has four dioceses (Changsha, Changde, Lizhou and Yuanling) and five apostolic prefectures (Baojing, Lingling, Lixian, Xiangtan and Yueyang).

    Government authorities restructured them into six dioceses in 1991, and merged them into a single Hunan diocese in 1999.

    About 20 priests serve 70,000 Catholics in the province, which has been without a bishop for 12 years, following the death of Bishop Simon Qu Tianxi of Changsha in 2000.

    The ordination of the new bishop coincides with the conclusion of the meeting of the Vatican Commission on the Church in China.

     

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    See also

    04/07/2011 VATICAN - CHINA
    The Holy See condemns Leshan ordination
    In a statement made public today, the Vatican states that it does not recognize the new bishop, that he can not administer the diocese and is excommunicated. Voices in Leshan say that the new bishop has two children. The Vatican had informed some time ago that he could not be accepted as a candidate "for serious reasons”. Bishops who attended the ordination also warned. Fears that the government wants to create a de-facto schism, ordaining dozens of other bishops without papal mandate.

    20/05/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    New bishop of Yanzhou ordained with Holy See approval
    Bishop John Lu Peisen is the second legitimate pastor ordained since the beginning of the year. Two days ago the Pope's call to pray for the bishops who "suffer and are under pressure in exercising their episcopal ministry." Bishop Lu was a long time teacher at the seminary in Jinan.

    16/09/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    New coadjutor bishop of Taiyuan
    He is the seventh bishop ordained in a year, with the approval of the Holy See and Beijing. The ceremony was attended by five thousand faithful, 120 priests and four bishops, all approved by the Vatican. He tells AsiaNews it is time to "build the Church in our hearts." Taiyuan is a land of martyrs.

    16/05/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    Patriotic Association threatens 10 episcopal ordinations without papal mandate
    This was declared by Anthony Liu Bainian, honorary president of the PA. On May 11 there was an election of Bishops in Shantou (Guangdong) with a single candidate, linked to the Communist Party to oust the bishop of the diocese, approved by the Holy See.

    25/11/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Chinese Church "wounded" by illicit ordination, united with Pope
    A priest in the underground Church writes to AsiaNews about the Chengde illicit ordination. The impact on ecclesial communion, dialogue between China and the Vatican, on religious freedom in the country.



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