Hong Kong Bishop: ‘War’ Between Chinese Sanctioned Church and Vatican

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 7:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A top Roman Catholic church official is describing tension between the Vatican and the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic church as a “war.”

Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen spoke in New York Thursday after the Chinese church ordained another bishop without approval from the pope — a violation of Vatican policy.

Zen blamed the ordination on those he calls rogue low-level government officials who force Chinese church officials to do their bidding. He appealed to President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to rein them in.

The state-backed church Thursday elevated Reverend Joseph Huang Bingzhang as the bishop of Shantou city in southern Guangdong province. It is the third such ordination since November 2010.

The Vatican and Beijing severed ties when Chinese communists seized power in 1949. Up to 12 million Catholics live in China. Many of them follow the state-sanctioned church. Chinese leaders regard Vatican policy as interference in their internal affairs.

But China has a thriving underground church that is loyal to the pope.