China's state-controlled Catholic Church installed a cleric well-regarded by the Vatican as bishop of Beijing on Friday in a move that officials say should help ease their tense relations.
Joseph Li Shan was appointed to the influential post in China's capital at a ceremony at the city's 400-year-old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception attended by several hundred priests, nuns, officials and ordinary Chinese Catholics who were given invitations by the Beijing diocese.
The appointment of bishops has long been a sticking point in the difficult relations between the Vatican and Beijing over the past half-century. Both sides, however, have sought to strike a compromise in recent years. Many bishops have first been named by China but then asked for and received the Vatican's approval, as church officials privately said was the case with Li.