Chinese government ignores Vatican warning on bishop ordination
Father Joseph Yue Fusheng, 48, was ordained as bishop of Harbin city on July 6, despite warnings from Rome that he faced automatic excommunication for doing so.
“This episcopal ordination of Harbin will create confusion and divisions among the Catholic community in China,” the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said in a July 3 note issued ahead of the ordination.
“If one wants the Church in China to be Catholic, one must not proceed with episcopal ordinations that do not have the prior approval of the Holy Father,” the congregation said.
In a Jul 4 response China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs labeled the Vatican’s warning as “extremely outrageous and shocking,” adding that their policy of “self-ordination” would continue.
According to several reports, five Vatican-approved bishops took part in the illicit ordination at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Harbin city, the capital of Heilongjiang province. It was also reported that around 40 priests were present.
Participating clerics were also warned by the Vatican in its July 3 statement that they were “exposing themselves to serious canonical penalties prescribed by the law of the Church.”
China has an estimated eight to twelve million Catholics, with about half of those people worshiping in the government-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Founded in 1957, it does not acknowledge the authority of the Pope. [More]