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Another Chinese bishop's ordination brings new controversy

April 24, 2012

For the 2nd time in less than a week, a Catholic bishop is scheduled to be ordained in China, but the participation of another bishop who has cooperated with the government-backed Patriotic Association is causing divisions among the faithful.

Father Timothy Qu Ailin will be ordained on April 25 as Bishop of Changsha. His episcopal ordination has been approved by the Vatican. However, Chinese Catholics are concerned about reports that Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing will be the principal consecrator, since Bishop Li has also participated in episcopal ordinations that were conducted in defiance of the Holy See.

The Vatican has said that bishops who participate in illicit episcopal ordinations are subject to excommunication, unless they make a public apology and request forgiveness from the Holy See. Bishop Li, who in the past had joined in illicit ordinations, has not made any public repentance. However, Chinese Catholics close to the bishop say that he was acting under compulsion when he joined in the unauthorized ordinations, and the Vatican has indicated that bishops who are coerced to participate in the ceremonies are not subject to excommunication.


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