Bishop Fang Xinyao of Linyi is the new national president of the Patriotic Association.
Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, nominated without papal mandate, is the new president of the council of Chinese bishops.
The Catholic Patriotic Association is the body through which the Chinese government recognizes religious personnel and registers places of worship. Religious practice is only permitted in China with the oversight of the association. Hence there is a “national” or “official” church, directed by the Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China.
And then there are the laypeople, priests and bishops who oppose such control and who wish to obey the Pope directly. The latter constitute the non-official, or underground, Church.
The new Patriotic Association president went on to appoint vice presidents and the secretary-general.
Two members of the new leadership are bishops ordained this year with a papal mandate; one was ordained unlawfully, reported AsiaNews.
The news agency went on to affirm that now Chinese Catholics are even more concerned that there will be further illicit episcopal ordinations in China, given that the leadership of the two governing bodies is peopled by bishops already ordained in that manner.