The "tranquil" ordination of Msgr. Peter Ding Lingbin, bishop of Changzhi
by Maria Yuan

The ordination was attended by about 2 thousand people; many non-Christians looked on from the street. Security was discreet. Rules imposed on the eve very strict. All of the ordaining bishops are in communion with the Pope. The Holy See mandate read in private; that of the council of Chinese bishops read in public.


Changzhi (AsiaNews) - This morning at 8am the episcopal ordination of Msgr. Peter Ding Lingbin (丁玲斌) as bishop of Changzhi (Shanxi) took place in a "very tranquil" manner. Msgr. Ding, 54, is an adult vocation and as a youth graduated in medicine and worked as a doctor in the city hospital.

At least 2 thousand people attended the ceremony, including hundreds of priests and dozens of nuns who arrived from neighboring dioceses. Several hundred worshipers were present in the church, while the majority took part from the outside. There were many non-Christians onlookers in the street in front of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, where the liturgy was held.

The faithful were allowed to enter the church and attend the celebration without many problems. An AsiaNews source said that "security was very discreet". In the days previous to the ordination, the local authorities had placed strict conditions on participation: The need to show a pass, identification, the ban on smartphones and taking pictures, etc ... But this morning people were able to enter the church and gather without too much trouble. And at the end of the ceremony, many took pictures with their mobile phones. "Maybe it's because the civil authorities understood that we just wanted to attend mass," said a source for AsiaNews. "And then, if they had stopped the people, it is likely that they would have aroused the anger of the faithful."

The ordaining bishops were all in communion with the Pope: Msgr. Giuseppe Li Shan, Archbishop of Beijing, who presided over the celebration; Msgr. Meng Ningyou Taiyuan (Shanxi); Msgr. Wu Junwei Yuncheng (Jiangzhou, Shanxi), Msgr. Li Shuguang of Nanchang (Jiangxi); Msgr. Zhang Yinlin Anyang (Henan). The ordination was also attended by the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Changzhi, Msgr. Jin Daoyuan.

In recent weeks, following the announcement of this ordination, there were rumors that it was the first fruit of an "imminent" agreement between China and the Vatican, for years engaged in a dialogue to find a common path in the appointment and ordination of bishops. In fact, Msgr. Ding had been approved by the Holy See more than two years ago, even before any agreement. Beijing’s approval came in recent weeks. Two years ago the diocese was visited by Wang Zuoan, from the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

As is the case for several years, the papal letter sent to Msgr. Ding was read in private, to the priests; the letter of the Council of Chinese Bishops was read in public.

At the end of the ceremony, Msgr. Ding thanked the bishops, priests, religious and the faithful present at the ceremony, as well as officials of the United Front and Religious Affairs Bureau present. "Of course - he says the source of AsiaNews - he thanked the Pope in his heart."

(Photos: Diocese of Changzhi)