HONG KONG — The state-controlled Catholic church in China elevated one of its top officials from priest to bishop on Sunday, despite objections from the Vatican. There are two hierarchies of bishops in China, one selected by the underground church loyal to Rome and the other selected by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which Mao created to control the church in China. The new bishop, Ma Yinglin, 40, is a top official of the patriotic association and the secretary general of its Council of Chinese Bishops. He will lead the diocese of Kunming, in southwestern China. Pope Benedict XVI has placed a priority on reaching an understanding with mainland China that would allow greater religious freedom for the country’s Roman Catholics. But China, which has had informal contacts with the Vatican in recent years on ways to restore ties, has objected to giving the Vatican a say in the selection of bishops for dioceses. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who grew up in Shanghai and was appointed by Benedict this spring, is an intermediary in efforts to restore diplomatic relations between Beijing and the Vatican. On Saturday, he warned the state-controlled church in a statement that […]

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