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In southwestern Sichuan province, Leshan diocese today ordained Father Paul Lei Shiyin without a papal mandate in the presence of about 1,000 guests and government officials at the Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Emeishan city.
Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyi, president of the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), was the main celebrant.
Meanwhile, in northern China, Coadjutor Bishop-elect Father Joseph Sun Jigen of Handan has not returned to the diocese since he was taken away forcibly by security officers three days ago.
The diocese posted on its website today a notice to demand the return of Father Sun and a letter to the government protesting against its interference in their ordination.
Since yesterday, some Catholic websites and blogs have been warned to delete posts and comments related to the recent ordinations.
In Leshan diocese, six other participating prelates were Bishops Joseph Li Jing of Ningxia, Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, Joseph Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng, Paul He Zejiang of Wanzhou (Wanxian), Paul Xiao Zejiang of Guizhou (Guiyang) and Peter Fang Jianping of Tangshan. They all laid hands on the new bishop’s head.
All of the consecrators are Vatican-approved. They have previously participated in other illicit episcopal ordinations, except for Bishops Xiao and Li Jing.