under new management
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued a smoking hot cannon-blast this morning in protest of China's second ordination of a bishop without the Holy See's approval. An excerpt (unofficial translation):
The Holy Father learned of this news with profound displeasure, since an action so important for the life of the Church as an episcopal ordination was accomplished in both cases without regard for what communion with the Pope requires.
This amounts to a grave injury to Church unity, to which -- as was understood -- severe canonical sanctions are attached (cf. Canon 1382).
According to communications received, bishops and priests have been targets of strong duress and threats -- on the part of officials outside the Church -- to take part in episcopal ordinations which, since they lack a papal mandate, are not only illegitimate but contrary to conscience. Some bishops countered these pressures with a refusal, while others could only submit to them with great interior suffering. Incidents of this kind tear wounds not only in the Catholic community but within the conscience of the individual.
In terms of the conventional jargon of diplomatic displeasure, Navarro-Valls's language here is positively radioactive. Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano may not be out of office yet, but his influence has clearly waned. We can be sure he didn't write that statement. The China policy, at least, is under new management.
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