The ordination of Bishop Paul Liang Jiansen took place March 30 at Jiangmen's Cathedral of Immaculate Heart of Mary with all concelebrating bishops and priests sanctioned by the Vatican.
The Catholic Church in Mainland China is the only recognized religion that does not accept oversight by the government. Because of this, the government established a Patriotic Catholic Church, which now operates Catholic facilities and institutions. Rather than accept this usurption of the Church's perogatives and authority, many bishops and other clergy went underground to continue the Church's mission.
Although there had been movement towards the conflation of the Patriotic Church with an clandestino Church brought out into the open. Each player, the Vatican, the Chinese government, the underground Church and the Patriotic Church, has an ongoing struggle between forces for and opposed to unity.
In November, Joseph Guo Jincai was ordained bishop of Chengde without the sanction of the Holy See. The act was referred to by Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas message and was reponded to by the official Chinese media.
The fear among supporters of unity was that the atmosphere had become so poisoned that recent progress was lost. Although not the final act in this drama, this most recent ordination signals that progress is still possible.
Read the Zenit.com article here.