Sun, Jul 03, 2005 - Page 5 News List

China won't discuss appointment of bishops with Pope

AFP , BEIJING

Beijing will continue its policy of appointing bishops in the official Chinese church without consulting the Vatican, state religious officials said yesterday.

Joseph Xing Wenzhi (邢文之) was appointed auxiliary bishop of Shanghai last week in the government-backed Catholic church, which says it will only consider forming official ties with the Holy See if the Vatican breaks ties with Taiwan.

"The practices that were applied in Xing's case will continue to be applicable in the selections of further Chinese bishops in the future," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Liu Bainian, vice president of the China Patriotic Catholic Association, as saying.

"There wasn't any link between Xing's nomination and the relations between China and the Vatican. Xing was totally a bishop elected by the masses," Liu said.

The 42-year-old priest was reported to have announced during his inauguration ceremony that he had been nominated by the Holy See, suggesting that he received full backing from the Pope. While Chinese officials have denied the suggestion, the Vatican itself has made no announcement.

Analysts have suggested the Roman Catholic Church had been involved, signalling a possible thawing of ties between Beijing and the Vatican.

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