Bishop's illicit ordination creates new crisis for Church in China
November 19, 2010
Chinese officials have confirmed plans to ordain a bishop without Vatican approval on November 20. The illicit ordination will severely damage Chinese relations with the Holy See and cause new strains among the faithful in China.
Liu Bainain, the vice-president and chief spokesman of the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association, told reporters that the episcopal ordination of Father Joseph Guo Jincai would go forward despite strong protests from Rome.
Chinese officials are reportedly exerting heavy pressure on other Catholic bishops to attend the ordination. The Vatican condemned these coercive measures—which included the abduction of at least 3 bishops—as “serious violations of freedom of religion and conscience.”
Strains between Beijing and Rome had eased in the past few years, as new Chinese bishops were ordained only after having quietly obtained Vatican approval. The break from that tacit agreement will aggravate divisions between the “official” Church recognized by the government and the “underground” Catholics loyal to the Holy See.