The Vatican has shown it approves of a newly- consecrated bishop in China, indicating warmer relations between the Pope and Beijing. A cathedral near Tiananmen Square was the setting for the service in which Li Shan was ordained bishop of the Chinese capital.
With China rejecting a formal papal role in appointing bishops to its government-controlled Catholic Church, a sign of Vatican approval is highly significant. “This is happening through our respective diplomatic channels,” said a Beijing priest.
“We don’t have direct communication with the Vatican because it is not in accordance with the Chinese law.”
Formal diplomatic ties were severed in 1951 by China, angry at the Vatican’s recognition of Taiwan. Pope Benedict’s approval of the bishop’s appointment is reported in the official Vatican newspaper, indicating that better relations may now lie ahead.