rift with Chinese church
FIVE bishops were ordained illicitly by the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics on Saturday, widening the rift with the Vatican.
It was the largest episcopal ordination since the cultural revolution 15 years ago, and follows the rejection of Bishop Dominic Tang's appointment as Archbishop of Canton, after he had been accepted as bishop by both sides on his release from 22 years of imprisonment.
The new bishops are for the diocese of Shenyang, Naking, Suzhou, Tianshui and Dali, and the ceremony took place in Peking's Cathedral of the immaculate Conception, founded in the 17th Century by the Jesuits.
Twenty-seven other Chinese church bishops took part in the laying on of hands ceremony in a combination of Latin and Chinese backed by a full choir and organ.
The move "demonstrates once again the determination to run our church independently." said Bishop Paul XU Zhengjiang, named Bishop of Shenyang in the north-east.
"This action is a counterblow to the Vatican, who has ignored the sovereignty of the Chinese Church and illegally appointed Deng Yimin (Archbishop Tang's Chinese name) as Archbishop of Canton Province," Bishop Xu said.