Vatican warns China bishops over illegal ordination

VATICAN CITY Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:56pm IST

Related Topics

Polluted waters of China

Polluted waters of China

Growing cities, overuse of fertilizers, and factory wastewater have degraded China's water supplies to the extent that half the nation's rivers and lakes are severely polluted.  Slideshow 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Bishops in China who are ordained without papal authorisation inflict a "grave wound" on the entire Catholic Church and should not let themselves be manipulated by the government, the Vatican said on Thursday.

The Vatican issued the warning after a meeting of a special commission that studies the situation of Catholics in China, who are not allowed to recognise the pope's authority but forced to be members of a state-backed Church.

Last November, the Vatican condemned the ordination without papal permission of Reverend Joseph Guo Jincai, a member of the state-backed Church in Chengde.

For a period before that, China and the Vatican had reached an agreement that the Vatican would give tacit but not explicit approval to some of the appointments of bishops by the government-backed Church after discreet consultations.

It said at the time various bishops loyal to the pope had come under pressure to attend Guo's ordination ceremony.

Catholics in China are divided between one Church that recognises the pope and his authority to name bishops and a state-backed "patriotic association" which ordains its own.

Priests anywhere in the world who allow themselves to be made bishops without papal approval are usually subjected to automatic excommunication, or a total cutoff from the Church.

But in Thursday's statement, the Vatican said "external pressures and constrictions" in China might exempt the new bishops from such drastic punishment.

Still, it said any unapproved ordination of bishops always inflicted a "grave wound" on the entire Church.

"Every bishop involved is therefore obliged to refer to the Holy See and find the means of explaining his position to the priests and the faithful, renewing his profession of fidelity to the supreme pontiff," it said.

This would help "repair the external scandal caused" by the consecration of bishops without papal authorisation, it said.

Relations between Beijing and the Vatican had been seen to be improving last year before the Chinese authorities decided to go ahead with the ordination of Guo despite repeated warnings.

The ordination has hampered the dialogue that Pope Benedict had sought to establish with Beijing. The Vatican wants to forge diplomatic relations with China but Beijing says the Holy See must first sever ties with Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan, which has full diplomatic relations with only 20 states, a renegade territory.

(Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
RobertCoane wrote:
The Vatican would do well in seeking to repair the scandals of pedophile priests, subjecting THEM to automatic excommunication, or a total cutoff from the Church, rather than wasting time in bureaucratic distractions to “help ‘repair the external scandal caused’ by the consecration of bishops without papal authorisation.”

Apr 17, 2011 9:04pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Gaza

WORLD SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia.  Full Article 

'National Hero' Dead

'National Hero' Dead

Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus.  Full Article 

Malaysia Tourism

Malaysia Tourism

Malaysia tries to parlay appeal to Muslim visitors into medical tourism push.  Full Article 

Graft Crackdown

Graft Crackdown

Exclusive: China's Xi reached deal with former leaders to investigate ex-security chief - sources.  Full Article 

Cyber Attack

Cyber Attack

Israel's 'Iron Dome' makers were hit by hackers, expert says.  Full Article 

Campus Flooding

Campus Flooding

Massive water main break floods UCLA campus.  Video 

Quality Issues

Quality Issues

In China food testing, safety inspectors are often one step behind.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage