Unapproved Bishop Elected to Top China Job
China is working to set up governmental authority in the Catholic church within its borders.
12/09/2010 China (UCANnews) – A bishop who does not have papal approval was today elected president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) while a Vatican-approved bishop became head of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).
Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyi, 57, who is in communion with the pope, was elected CCPA chairperson with 310 votes for and three abstentions.
They were the only candidates for the top posts of the two open Church bodies which are not recognized by the Vatican.
Church observers told ucanews.com that Vatican-approved bishops would find it even harder to avoid concelebrating with Bishop Ma or decline his presence in future liturgical activities.
The Vatican will also be embarrassed to see its future bishop candidates receiving BCCCC approval marked with the seal of an illegitimate bishop, they said.
There were 313 representatives – 45 bishops, 158 priests, 23 nuns and 87 lay people, taking part in the election in the morning. They cast their votes by a show of hands.
Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai of Chengde is BCCCC secretary general. Some Church people had expected him to assume a key post when he was ordained without papal mandate on Nov. 20.
Together with Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong, who was ordained without papal mandate in 2000, there are three illegitimate bishops now among the BCCCC new leaders.