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Chinese cardinal denounces 'gangster-style' ordination

November 22, 2010

Chinese authorities proceeded with the illicit ordination of Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai was ordained bishop in Chengde on November 20, ignoring strong protests from the Vatican.

Since 2006, no new Catholic bishops had been ordained in China without the quiet approval of the Holy See. By breaking from that pattern the government-back Catholic Patriotic Association re-asserted its claim to authority over the Catholic Church in China. Several bishops who are loyal to the Holy See were apparently forced to attend the episcopal ordination in Chengde.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was in Rome for the consistory, said that he “would have preferred to remain in the chapel of the house where I am accommodated to allow myself a good cry” over the Saturday ceremony, which he saw as a heavy blow to the freedom and unity of the Chinese Church.

Cardinal Zen argued that the Patriotic Association has never ceded its claims to authority over the Chinese Church. Early episcopal ordinations, conducted with Vatican approval, were possible only because the leader of the Patriotic Association did not object, the cardinal said:

We thought there was a sincere negotiation going on. No, it was not so. He wants everything his way. That the 10 ordinations this year could take place, it was mainly because he was satisfied. He is the boss!

The cardinal added that the “kidnapping” of other bishops, who were held incommunicado and forced to attend the Saturday ceremony, and the “huge display of police force” at the Chengde ordination, reeked of a “fascist method” and “gangster style” that “has brought shame on our noble nation.”


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