China on Sunday refuted Vatican's criticism on its ordination of an assistant
bishop, saying that latter's accusation is "unreasonable".
Patriotic Catholic Association last Thursday ordained Wang Renlei as bishop
coadjutor of Xuzhou diocese in Jiangsu Province, which the Vatican said was
A spokesperson for the State Administration of Religious Affairs pointed out
that China and the Vatican have no official ties; and neither have they reached
any tacit understanding or agreement on the ordination of bishops. The Vatican
has never recognized the Chinese Catholic Bishops College.
The spokesperson said under the circumstances, Beijing following a request
from the Chinese Catholic Church had informed the Vatican in advance of the
selection and ordination, "which showed great sincerity."
"Given the status quo of China-Vatican relations, the fact that the Chinese
Catholic Bishops College had conducted an assessment, and the Xuzhou diocese
prepared for the ordination, the Vatican's requests to stop or postpone the
ordination were unreasonable," the spokesperson said.
"Its accusation after the ordination also makes no sense," he said.
Bishop Qian Yurong of the Xuzhou diocese, who is 94 years old, had expressed
hope that the selection of bishop coadjutor be made as soon as possible, the
On October 21, priest Wang Renlei was nominated as bishop coadjutor by
Catholic priests and believers in the Xuzhou diocese after a democratic election
according to Catholic tradition and rules of the Chinese Catholic Bishops
The spokesperson said the Chinese Catholic Bishops College scrutinized Wang's
qualifications and believe that he is a man of pious faith, moral integrity and
outstanding capability with rich working experience; and is the right nominee
China has 97 dioceses, but more than 40 do not have bishops; and most bishops
are old. "The churches cannot exist without bishops," he said.
The spokesperson said over the past five decades, Chinese Catholic churches
for their own survival and development have selected and ordained more than 170
Such moves fulfilled the wishes of China's Catholic clergy and believers and
also met the "urgent need" for China's Catholic churches to manage church
affairs and spread Catholicism.
The spokesperson said the Chinese Government respects and supports the
choices of Chinese Catholic churches. "If the Vatican really cares about China's
Catholic churches, there should, naturally, be understanding and support," he
Official figures show that there are more than 5 million Catholic believers
in China, compared to 2.7 million half a century ago.
The spokesperson said the government has always been "positive" in improving
relations with the Vatican and is ready to have a "constructive" dialogue on
issues including the ordination of bishops.
"We hope the Vatican will stop interfering in China's internal affairs and
show goodwill to improve ties," the spokesperson said.
On Thursday, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu asked the Vatican
to "understand" the ordination of bishops by the Chinese church and see it in a
Since April, the Chinese Catholic Church has ordained the bishops of Suzhou,
Kunming, Anhui and Liaoning after informing the Vatican through private or
personal channels in advance.