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New bishops in China

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): November 10 has been set as the date for the ordination of Father Peter Ding Lingbin as the new bishop of Changzhi, in Shanxi province, China. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul.

While the date and place have been set at relatively short notice, Father Ding received his approval for ordination from the Vatican some two years ago. 

The long delay is the result of Beijing withholding its permission for the ordination to go ahead, but it has finally been forthcoming.

Whether this is the fruit of the ongoing Vatican-Beijing negotiations or not remains an unknown, but the green go-ahead light has come at a time when it is believed that another round of talks between the two will happen within a period of a few weeks.

However, some wonder about the timeframe, as one round of talks is scheduled with Vietnam in November and they say that it is unlikely that another will take place with China right on top of it.

The diocese that Father Ding will lead as the new bishop has a Catholic population of 50,000, with 51 priests and 22 seminarians.

Meanwhile another ordination of a new bishop for Chengdu, in Sichuan province, is also mooted. Father Joseph Tang Yuange has already received his Vatican mandate and is waiting for an official confirmation of time and place.

Some believe that the delay is due to caution in order to ensure that no illicitly ordained bishops are present at or take part in the ceremony.

It is generally believed that he will be ordained before the end of the year, but official confirmation is yet to come.

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