John Fang Xingyao, the state-approved bishop of the state-run Catholic church in China, told a religious conference last month that "love for the homeland must be greater than the love for the church."
Xingyao is the president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which is the state-sanctioned parallel to the "underground" Catholic church in China. The CCPA is not recognized by the Vatican.
Xingyao also said at the conference that "law of the country is above canon law."
The Chinese president has called for the Catholic church in China to be brought into line with the demands of the Communist Party of China, a process known as "sinicization."