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    » 11/20/2010, 00.00


    Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination

    Zhen Yuan

    The ceremony took place despite the strong protest of the Holy See. There had been no illegal ordinations since 2006. Among the eight bishops who participated there is also Mgr. Francis An Shuxin of Baoding, who last year had emerged from the underground church, causing many conflicts and disputes with the Vatican. The faithful are sad and angry.

    Chengde (AsiaNews) - Fr Joseph Guo Jincai was ordained bishop of Chengde (Hebei) today without a mandate from the pope. The ordination took place in the church of Pingquan (Chengde) in the presence of eight official legitimate bishops, in other words, in communion with the Holy See.

    Despite objection from the Holy See prior to the ordination, (v. 18/11/2010 Holy See against an illicit Episcopal ordination and violence against bishops), the event continued as scheduled from 9 am to 10.40 am, and attended by also more than a dozen priests and 500 people, including government officials. A commemoration card of Guo’s ordination was distributed to participants after the Mass. (See photo)

    In China, there had been no illicit ordinations since 2006, when in the space of a few days Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming and Liu Xinhong of Anhui were ordained. Even then, the Vatican issued a strong protest (05/04/2006 Holy See: illicit ordinations in China are a "serious violation of religious freedom"). The number of bishops who participated in bishop Ma’s ordination was one more than those present today .

    Bishop Fang Jianping of Tangshan officiated the ordination of Chengde. Other participants, seized by the government in recent days, were bishops Pei Junmin of Liaoning, Li Lianggui of Cangzhou and Feng Xinmao of Hengshui, as well as bishops Li Shan of Beijing, Meng Qinglu of Hohhot, Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng and Coadjutor bishop Francesco An Shuxin of Baoding.

    In March, the Vatican had given indications to the bishops in communion with the Pope not to participate in acts (such as assemblies or ordinations of bishops) that are in contradiction with communion with the pope.

    The participation of Mgr. An Shuxin creates more difficulties for the Vatican and the Church in China. Last year, Mgr. An decided to emerge from the underground Church and be welcomed into the Church officially recognized by the government. His choice generated much controversy and division in the church of Baoding.

    Local Catholic sources told AsiaNews that security forces were deployed around the church where the ordination took place, while several plainclothes policemen controlled everywhere. The local Catholics are saddened by the ordination and wondering if from now on they can receive the sacraments from a bishop not in communion with the Pope. Catholics in other dioceses are angry for what the government has done against the Church, embarrassing their bishops and the Vatican. Several of them are hoping that the Holy See will not hasten steps to establish diplomatic relations with China.

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    See also

    25/11/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Chinese Church "wounded" by illicit ordination, united with Pope
    A priest in the underground Church writes to AsiaNews about the Chengde illicit ordination. The impact on ecclesial communion, dialogue between China and the Vatican, on religious freedom in the country.

    19/11/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Chengde: illicit Episcopal ordination, the first in four years
    Vice-President of the Patriotic Association ignores the Vatican veto. Many bishops are under pressure to take part in the ordination. Three prelates were seized. For the faithful of the diocese the new ordination against the wishes of the Holy See "is a time bomb." The new bishop is close to the government, but far from the local and universal Church.

    22/11/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
    Card. Zen’s anguish over illegal ordination of Chengde
    Priests, nuns and faithful of the official and underground communities mourn over the demeaning illicit ordination on 20 November in Chengde (Hebei). It was attended by eight bishops in communion with the pope, kidnapped and forced to participate. The Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, a champion of religious freedom in China, vents his frustration.

    24/11/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
    Holy See condemns illicit episcopal ordination in Chengde
    In a harsh statement, the Vatican expresses the pope’s "deep regret" and denounces "a serious breach of Catholic discipline" and "freedom of religion and conscience." The Beijing government has ignored the demands of the Holy See and let Liu Bainian, vice president of the Patriotic obstruct China - the Holy See dialogue. It reminds the illicit bishop of his excommunication latae sententiae.

    14/04/2011 VATICAN -CHINA
    Vatican Commission sends message to Chinese Catholics
    The document calls for hope, despite the "evidence" that the faithful are dealing with the illegitimate ordination of Chengde and the 8th National Assembly of Catholic representatives, pointing to the dictates of the Code of Canon Law and the directions of Benedict XVI. The urgent need for the appointment of bishops in vacant dioceses and the importance of formation. Hopes for government openness to dialogue.

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    A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.

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