Dec 9, 2007

New Chinese Bishops and Bibles

Things are changing in China, even though they have a very long way to go over a very rocky path. ChinaDaily reports that a new Catholic Bishop was ordained for the Guangzhou diocese (formerly Canton) to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his predecessor six years ago. The Vatican approved of this ordination, as well as that of another bishop who was consecrated in Yichang, Hubei Province.

An official of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association says that other ordinations will be forthcoming as the process of selection and ordination of young bishops is sped up. Many dioceses of the Patriotic church have been without bishops for a long time and other dioceses are led by very old bishops.

Apparently, the new Bishops will not be selected by the Vatican, which can only hope that new and good Bishops are elected by Chinese priests, nuns, and "representatives of church followers." The Vatican seems to be able to only accede or not accede to an elected Bishop, who may or may not publicly declare his solidarity with the Pope. It remains to be seen how the Patriotic church and the faithful underground Catholic church can be reconciled.

In apparent response to the recent news that China will restrict visitors to the China Olympics to bringing in only one Bible, the same ChinaDaily article goes on to say that the government has renewed a contract with the Amity Foundation to print millions of Bibles.
The number of Bibles - with both the old and the new testaments - printed in the country is set to exceed 50 million this month, according to Zhang Liwei, deputy general secretary of the Nanjing-based Christian Amity Foundation which operates the country's sole Bible printing house.

The Chinese Christian Society prints the largest number of Bibles in the world, Rev Cao Shengjie, president of the China Christian Council, said earlier.

The Amity Printing House had printed about 43 million Bibles in Chinese and eight ethnic minority languages to serve the country's 16 million Christians by November.

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