15 July 2010
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican and the Chinese government have approved the consecration of a new bishop for Taizhou in a sign of warming ties.
The Vatican said Wednesday 75-year-old Msgr. Antonio Xu Jiwei was named bishop over the weekend in a ceremony presided over by four other bishops who similarly are in communion with Rome and are recognized by China's official church.
China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951. Worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, but millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI has prioritized improving relations with Beijing and reconciling the two churches. In recent years a compromise has been reached under which both Beijing and Rome agree on bishop candidates.