09/21/2007, 00.00
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Beijing, Msgr. Li Shan is ordained

The new bishop was welcomed with the applause of his faithful. He succeeds Michele Fu Tieshan, the patriotic bishop who never asked for reconciliation with the Pope. Msgr. Li has Vatican approval.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – He was ordained this morning (9.00 local time) the new bishop of Beijing, Fr. Giuseppe Li Shan. According to AsiaNews sources, the new prelate has Vatican approval.  Perhaps for this reason the security measures were tight and managed by the Patriotic Association, who in many ways attempted to claim “proprietary rights” over the new bishop, who has taken the place of Fu Tieshan, the patriotic bishop who died in April without ever having sought reconciliation with the Holy See.  Numerous faithful, stressed by the difficulty of gaining access to the not overly large Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Nan Tang), gave up on taking part in the ceremony.

Thus the vast majority those filling the place of worship, other than the priests and religious of the diocese, were authorities rather than faithful.  Yet despite their small numbers they welcomed their new pastor with warm applause.

Those present – foreign media were denied access – describe the rite as being closer to a State ceremony than a religious celebration, in fear of highlighting the bond between Msgr. Li and Rome.  This was also a subject of discussion among the Catholics of China and Beijing, with some expressing their delusion at the lack of a Vatican declaration prior to the ceremony – to clarify the situation.

For his part, the new bishop, as he was giving thanks said that his vocation is to love the Church and his nation.  These words recalled to many present those many occasions when John Paul II underlined that Catholics want to be good citizens.

PHOTO: AsiaNews

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