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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 07:15 GMT 08:15 UK
China ignores Vatican over bishop
A Roman Catholic congregation in Beijing
China's Roman Catholic Church has about 10 million members
The state-controlled Catholic church in China has ignored the Vatican's wishes and consecrated a new bishop.

Father Ma Yingling was consecrated as bishop of Kunming at a ceremony in the southwestern Yunnan province on Sunday.

The Vatican had called for a delay in the appointment over concerns the bishop is inexperienced and too closely aligned with China's communist regime.

The Chinese Church does not recognise the Vatican's power to appoint bishops, causing tension between the two sides.

Trying to force the clergymen to carry out the ordination ceremony before the (Roman Catholic) Church's approval would be deliberately wrecking China-Vatican negotiations
Cardinal Joseph Zen

Many recent appointments however had been approved by both sides.

Father Ma was shown on Hong Kong cable television wearing a bishop's hat and waving to crowds.

A procession of clergy in white robes had earlier entered a church building, as dancers performed outside.

The request to postpone Father Ma's consecration had been made by the Vatican-appointed Roman Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen.

He said the Vatican needed more time to assess Father Ma's qualifications.

"Trying to force the clergymen to carry out the ordination ceremony before the (Roman Catholic) Church's approval would be deliberately wrecking China-Vatican negotiations," he told Hong Kong radio.

Taiwan links

Cardinal Zen has been at the forefront of recent efforts to improve relations between Beijing and the Holy See.

China has both a state-sanctioned Roman Catholic church but also a bigger, unofficial church that is loyal to the Pope.

According to China's authorities the state-sanctioned church has about four million members, while the Vatican says the Roman Catholic Church there has some 10 million worshippers.

China has said it would like better relations with the Vatican, but insists that first the Holy See must cut its diplomatic links with Taiwan.


SEE ALSO:
Vatican objects to Chinese bishop
29 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Underground Chinese bishop 'held'
10 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's tense links with the Vatican
08 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
HK bishop hints at Vatican switch
05 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Vatican condemns Chinese arrests
23 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
China's Catholics: Far from Rome
24 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific


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