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Vatican: ‘Ordination in China marred by presence of illegitimate bishop’

Cross-bearers process into the church during a Christmas Eve mass in 2015 at the Southern Cathedral, an officially-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, China (AP)

The Vatican says it was saddened that the ordination of two new Chinese bishops — consecrated with the approval of both China and the Holy See — was marred by the presence of an illegitimate bishop.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Vatican said the presence of Mgr Lei Shiyin of Leshan “created unease for the two involved and turmoil among Chinese Catholics.”

Lei is one of several Chinese bishops who have been ordained without the Pope’s consent. The dispute over bishop nominations is the most vexing stumbling block preventing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

In the statement, the Vatican said it was also awaiting the outcome of an assembly of the official Chinese Catholic Church and said it hoped it would give locals confidence in the Vatican-China dialogue.