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Excommunicated Chinese bishop insists on joining in ordination ceremony

April 19, 2012

The April 19 ordination of a new Chinese bishop, with the full approval of the Holy See, was marred by the participation of a prelate who has been excommunicated for defying Vatican authority.

Bishop Joseph Chen Guangao was ordained as Bishop of Nanchong, with five other bishops recognized by the Holy See joining in the ceremony. But those bishops were joined by Bishop Paul Lei Shiyin, the president of the Catholic Patriotic Association, who insisted on participating in the ceremony and laying his hands on the new bishop, despite clear indications that his presence was unwanted.

Bishop Chen Guangao had delayed his own ordination in an effort to ensure that the ceremony would not involve any prelates not in full communion with the Holy See. Chinese Catholics said, therefore, that the participation of Bishop Lei was an act of disrespect for the new bishop as well as a direct offense against the Vatican.

"He has failed to respect the person of the new bishop and the community,” said Archbishop John Savio Hon, the secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization, in remarks to the AsiaNews service. "This explicit act of disobedience creates even more problems for him and the community.”


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