The showdown is coming in China over bishops. This is from AFP with my emphases.
China wants to ordain bishops ‘without delay’
(AFP) – 10 hours ago
BEIJING — China’s state-controlled Catholic church wants to ordain at least 40 bishops “without delay”, its vice president said Friday, in a move likely to further irritate ties with the Vatican.
Liu Bainian, deputy head of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, confirmed an official Xinhua news agency report that said more than 40 of the country’s 97 dioceses were without a bishop.
The report said leaders of China’s Catholic church had agreed at a recent meeting that they would “strive to select and ordain bishops at these dioceses without delay”.
Liu told AFP that China’s existing bishops would “help various areas to select their own bishops. It’s the best opportunity to spread the Gospel in China.”
The Vatican and China have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1951. Beijing insists it has the right to ordain its own bishops, defying the Holy See, which says ordinations can only go ahead with the pope’s blessing.
Last November, China angered the Vatican when it ordained a bishop for the northern city of Chengde without the Holy See’s approval.
Another ordination in the central province of Hubei was postponed earlier this month, although Liu said Friday it was still “under examination.”
In May, the pope himself called on Catholics across the world to pray that Chinese bishops refuse to separate from Rome, despite what he called “pressure” from communist authorities.
The Vatican and China cut ties when the Holy See angered Mao Zedong’s Communist government by recognising the Nationalist Chinese regime in Taiwan as the legitimate government of China.
The atmosphere worsened when in 1957 China set up its own Catholic Church administered by the atheist Communist government.
The 5.7 million Catholics in China are caught between staying loyal to the ruling Communist Party in Beijing and showing allegiance to the pope as part of an “underground” Church not recognised by the authorities.