12/10/2007, 00.00
CHINA
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Ordination of Ningxia coadjutor postponed because “it is not the right time”

The new bishop coadjutor, Fr Joseph Li Jing, was supposed to be ordained on 8 December. The ceremony has been postponed to 21 December because now “is not the right time” for appointments. Some argue that the real issue is who will ordain the new prelate, whom the bishop wants to be approved by the Pope.

Yinchuan (AsiaNews) – The government of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (north-central China) has postponed the ordination of Fr Joseph Li Jing as bishop coadjutor “because this is not the right time” for new appointments. The ordination was initially scheduled for 8 December, feast day of the Immaculate Conception, in Yinchuan cathedral. Now it should now take place next 21 December, local Catholic sources told AsiaNews.

The local bishop, Mgr John Liu Jingshan, confirmed the change of date. “I hope that Father Li will be able to lead the diocese to better development—above all, I hope that he might be able to unify the clergy (currently split between official and underground). We, in any event, could never cut ties with the Pope.”

The bishop confirmed that he will preside over Father Li’s ordination ceremony. “The two coordinators have not yet been chosen yet, but they should be recognised by the Holy See.”

For some the latter factor is the real reason for moving the ceremony to another date.

Father Li was elected coadjutor of the diocesan clergy last year, but the Holy See had already approved his candidacy three years ago.

Ordained priest in 1996, he studied in Germany for four years. After his studies he came back to China where he worked in Beijing’s National Seminary as vice rector and spiritual father for young students.

Ningxia has about 10,000 Catholics with 11 priests. The first bishop of Yinchuan was appointed in 1993. Before Ningxia was under the diocese of Ba Meng, from where Father Li hails.

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