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    Chinese Catholics ordained a new bishop for the first time in three years, marking a thaw in relations between China and the Vatican, the New York Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

    First Catholic Bishop in 3 Years Ordained in China With Pope's Approval

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    Chinese Catholics ordained a new bishop for the first time in three years, marking a thaw in relations between China and the Vatican, the New York Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin was ordained in a ceremony in Anyang, the central Chinese province of Henan, held under strict police control. Zhang received an approval from the Vatican. The official Chinese church also announced his ordination, the media outlet reported.

    In 1949, the Communist Party of China severed official ties with the Vatican amid a desire to run its own church, known as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, and appoint its own priests and bishops to exclude papal control.

    In 2012, Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin was ordained in Shanghai, leaving the official church, and later stripped of his title, while the Vatican expelled at least two bishops ordained by China, claiming they did not have the pope's approval.

    According to the newspaper, the official Chinese church will only promote and ordain candidates with the Holy See’s approval.

    The further improvement of relations between China and the Vatican remains uncertain amid protests of the faithful caused by the removal of crosses from Protestant churches in Zhejiang Province, where Christianity is popular.

    According to various estimates, a number of Catholics living in China ranges from 9 to 12 million.

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