Beijing: China`s government-backed Catholic Church is reportedly preparing to ordain a new bishop this month, and the leading candidate is a priest who lacks the Vatican`s backing.
A report from the Catholic news service Ucanews.com said this week that Father Joseph Shen Guo`an will likely be ordained next Thursday as bishop of the Wuhan diocese in central China.
China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and relations have long been tense. China ordained another bishop on its own in November.
A leader of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association would not confirm that Shen would become bishop. But he said on Thursday that the Wuhan diocese has been without a bishop for many years and that the priest has been in charge in the interim.