C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
January 7, 2000

Vatican Unhappy With Beijing's Ordination of Bishops

[CND, 01/06/00] The Vatican expressed disappointment on Tuesday over the ordination of three auxiliary bishops by Chinese Patriotic Catholic Asociation, the officially sanctioned Catholic Church in China, according to a South China Morning Post report. The appointments coincided with Pope John Paul's consecration of 12 new bishops in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the incident would hamper the process of normalizing relations between the Vatican and Beijing.

Mr. LIU Bonian, vice-president of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, said that more young bishops and auxiliary bishops would be consecrated in the near future. He revealed that the average age of bishops in China is 78. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman ZHU Bangzao reminded the Vatican not to interfere in the internal affairs of China, including its religious affairs.

The official Chinese Catholic Church has 5,000 in parishes with 70 bishops, 1,100 priests and more than 1,200 nuns. About four million followers belong to the official church, while an estimated 10 million belong to the underground Catholic Church. (LIU Weiming, WU Yiyi)