China Church Ordains New Bishop


It is believed that millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome

China's government-backed Catholic church has ordained a bishop without the pope's approval, despite objections from the Vatican.

Reverend Guo Jincai's ordination at Pingquan Church in Chengde city was carried out on Saturday amid strong security.

A papal adviser described the ordination as ""illegitimate"" and ""shameful"".

China's first ordination without papal approval in almost five years threatens to hurt the country's already tense relations with the Vatican.

Eight Vatican-approved bishops are believed to have been forced to participate in the ceremony, according to AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency that closely covers the church in China.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Rome, Father Bernardo Cervellera, the editor of AsiaNews, said that the Chinese government was trying to control the church.

""I believe that this imprints above all the situation in China, Catholics are really upset by this move of the government which is trying to divide between those who are patriotic and those who are trying to follow the spiritual guidelines of the popes.

""I believe that China feels insecure about the situation inside because of many economic problems and because of many demonstrations against the government.

""They [Chinese government] are trying to control the church,"" he said.