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Yibin ordains new coadjutor bishop

Excommunicant among those present despite Vatican's wishes to the contrary

Father Peter Luo (front), ordained as coadjutor bishop of Yibin Father Peter Luo (front), ordained as coadjutor bishop of Yibin
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yibin
  • China
  • November 30, 2011
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Fr Peter Luo Xuegang was ordained as coadjutor bishop of Yibin diocese in southwestern Sichuan province today. An excommunicated bishop attended his ordination, despite a Vatican spokesman conveying the wish that “no illegitimate bishop will participate.”

Bishop Luo, 47, is the third bishop ordained with both papal approval and government recognition this year.

Bishop John Chen Shizhong of Yibin, 95, presided over the ceremony, attended by 61 priests, 35 nuns, 800 faithful, government officials and representatives of other religions.

The excommunicated Fr Paul Lei Shiyin of Leshan, in bishop's garb, was among the other Vatican-approved consecrating bishops, namely Bishops Paul He Zeqing of Wanzhou, Joseph Li Jing of Ningxia, John Baptist Yang Xiaoting of Yulin and Coadjutor Bishop Paul Xiao Zejiang of Guiyang.

Bishop Luo was ordained a priest together with Fr Lei 20 years ago today, the feast of Saint Andrew. He was seconded to Yibin from neighboring Leshan diocese in 2009, and was elected the bishop candidate and received the papal mandate last year.

The atmosphere was tense today with many police officers, plainclothes and police dogs monitoring at the St. Mary’s Church, local sources said.

No phones, cameras or liquids were allowed in the venue. Participants had to arrive three hours before the ordination began at 9am to go through a security scan.

Yibin diocese has two bishops, seven priests and about 30,000 Catholics. Bishop Luo is the third Chinese bishop of the diocese.

An official of the “open” Church authority said in April that eleven dioceses have elected their bishop candidates and await the approval of the bishops’ conference.

However, only five episcopal ordinations have taken place so far, including two that were held without papal mandate earlier in the year.

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