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Stern Vatican statement condemns Chinese bishop's ordination

November 24, 2010

The Vatican has issued a strongly worded condemnation of the illicit ordination of a new bishop in China.

The unauthorized ordination was “a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline,” the Vatican said. The newly ordained Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai “severe sanctions,” the announcement notes. The ordinary canonical punishment for the ordination of a bishop without a mandate from the Holy See is excommunication.

Noting that some Catholic bishops were forced to participate in the ceremony, the Vatican protested “a grave violation of freedom of religion and conscience.” The statement questioned whether the new bishop had been validly ordained-- presumably because the use of force could compromise the freedom that is required for any valid sacrament.

The heavy-handed effort to force Catholic acceptance of a bishop appointed by the government-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association does not serve the needs of Cathoilcs, the Vatican notes. Instead it “humiliates them, because the Chinese civil authorities wish to impose on them a pastor who is not in full communion, either with the Holy Father or with the other bishops throughout the world.”


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