China Defies Vatican, Names New Bishop

After angering the Vatican last spring by ordaining two bishops, China has again installed another bishop without the Catholic hierarchy’s approval.

In late November, China elevated Wang Renlei, the vicar general of the Xuzhou Diocese in Jiangsu Province in eastern China, to bishop of the diocese.

After China’s consecration of Wang, which occurred in a two-hour ceremony that, according to the Religion News Service, drew more than a thousand attendees, Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong, issued a statement accusing the Chinese government of undermining the already tense relationship between the Vatican and China. The New York Times reported that Zen has been given “considerable discretion” by Pope Benedict XVI to speak on issues involving China.