- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 248 Hour
- Reading permission
religion is such a strong power which can control people's minds. so that the government is wary of it, it's understandable. religion can help people to do good things, but sometimes, it may cause passivism. i personally don't understand why do people can be religious, but i respect their religions. so that i don't quite understand why do believers consider whether the bishop is ordained by the Vatican is quite important. |
China's state-backed Church has begun to ordain Vatican-approved bishops after a hiatus of more than two years, signalling that long-strained relations between the two sides are on the mend.
Cai Bingrui was ordained bishop of Xiamen, in southeastern Fujian province, at the weekend. He was the third bishop to be installed in as many weeks with the approval of both China's government-sanctioned Catholic Patriotic Association and the Vatican.
According to people close to delicate diplomatic talks between China and the Vatican, which have not recognised each other since 1951, as many as 20 mutually agreed bishops could be ordained over coming months. “There has been some improvement in relations and there is now more mutual trust,” said one person familiar with the negotiations.
The Vatican is the only country in the developed world that still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan rather than China. The re-establishment of relations with the Church, which claims spiritual leadership over 1bn Catholics worldwide, would represent a major diplomatic coup for Beijing. For its part, Rome is eager to boost its presence and influence in the world's most populous nation, which is home to an estimated 11m Catholics.
Senior diplomatic officials from both sides have been meeting two or three times a year in their ongoing effort to re-establish diplomatic relations. The last summit was held in Rome in February, with the next expected in Beijing this summer.
The recent ordinations in China are also vital to the rejuvenation of the Church there. The new bishops, in their late 30s or early 40s, are replacing elderly predecessors in their 80s or even 90s – a generation gap stemming from decades of religious repression under Mao Zedong. Before the April 18 ordination of Meng Qinglu in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, there had not been a bishop appointment in China since December 2007.
A few days after Bishop Meng's installation, Shen Bin was ordained as the new bishop of Haimen in Jiangsu province.
Sino-Vatican relations hit bottom in April 2006, when China unilaterally ordained Ma Yinglin as bishop of Kunming, in south-western Yunnan province.
The Chinese government had itself been angered by the Vatican's decision, announced a few months earlier, to elevate Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong to cardinal. Cardinal Zen, an outspoken champion of democracy and human rights in the largely autonomous Chinese Special Administrative Region, has long been a thorn in Beijing's side.
Despite recent improvements, Sino-Vatican relations remain delicate and could be easily derailed by another unilateral bishop appointment.
In addition, Church officials worry that a bishop not recognised by the Vatican, such as Mr Ma, might preside over an upcoming ordination.
Bishops approved by Rome are also under pressure to attend and lend legitimacy to Chinese domestic bodies, including the National Congress of Catholic Representatives, whose authority is not recognised by the Pope.