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Vatican welcomes Chinese bishop’s ordination, condemns participation of excommunicated prelate

Catholic World News - December 01, 2011

The director of the Holy See Press Office has welcomed the ordination of Father Peter Luo Xuegang as coadjutor bishop of Yibin but condemned the participation of an excommunicated bishop, Paul Lei Shiyin, in the ordination.

“After the recent episcopal ordinations without papal mandate, the fact of having a new bishop in communion with the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world is certainly positive,” said Father Federico Lombardi. The participation of Lei Shiyin, however, “gives rise to disagreement and confusion among the faithful, the more so because it appears that he took part as consecrating bishop and concelebrated the Eucharist. His inveterate disobedience to the rules of the Church unfortunately aggravates his canonical position.”

“In ordinary situations, the presence of the Bishop Lei Shiyin should have been entirely excluded, and would entail canonical consequences for the other participating bishops,” he added. “In this circumstance it is likely that they were unable to prevent it without great inconvenience. In any case, the Holy See will be able to better assess the question when it has received more extensive and in-depth information.”

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong, said that the participation of Bishop Lei Shiyin demonstrated once again that "Beijing does not respect the internal rules of our Church."

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, Taiwan, pointed out that the Chinese interferes more with the Catholic Church than with corporations, which are free to appoint their own managers in China. “By contrast,” he said, “Beijing wants to choose the bishops of the Catholic Church.” The archbishop concluded: “In other words, the Church has fewer rights than an ordinary store.”

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