07/18/2011, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN

Chinese Church "resists" excessive power of Government and Patriotic Association

by Wang Zhicheng
Faithful and priests have stopped the "kidnapping" of Msgr. Pei, designated to preside over the illicit ordination of Shantou. Yesterday in the dioceses of Guangdong the declaration of the Holy See was issued, greeted by applause. For months Harbin priests have resisted the illicit ordination of bishop. Members of the underground Church are asking the Vatican to proceed with the ordination of bishops for their communities.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - The standoff between the Vatican and Beijing over the illicit Episcopal ordinations, increasingly signs of "resistance" to the Patriotic Association (PA) and Government are emerging, to their attempts to determine the life of the Church even in the more religious and sacramental elements.

The Holy See expressed its appreciation for this "resistance" in the statement published on July 16 last following the ordination - without the mandate of the Pope - of Fr Joseph Huang Bingzhang as bishop of Shantou, Guangdong (see 16/07/2011 The Holy See condemns the illegal Bishop of Shantou, appreciates "the resistance" of bishops and faithful).

Msgr. Paul Pei Junmin of Liaoning had been pegged as the chief concelebrant for the ordination. But his priests and faithful staged a sit-in of perpetual prayer and study in the cathedral for days, until the ordination had taken place to prevent their pastor being "kidnapped" and forced to take part in the celebration.

Another bishop managed to hide before being detained and dragged to the ordination.

The four bishops of Guangdong were not so lucky, they were "kidnapped" by government officials and the police a few days before the ordination of Shantou. Until yesterday they were not free to return to their dioceses. But yesterday in Guangdong churches, the priests released the Holy See declaration on the excommunication of Fr Huang and urged Catholics to remain faithful to the pope. People welcomed the homilies with loud applause.

Another heroic resistance is underway in Harbin. Here, according to rumours, in the coming months the illicit ordination of Fr Joseph Yue Fu Sheng is due to take place. In anticipation of his ordination, the PA had already elected him national vice-president of the PA in December last year (see 12/09/2010 Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church).

But this ordination ahs been continuously postponed due to the resistance of the priests of the Diocese of Harbin who do not want a bishop appointed in opposition to the pope. According to AsiaNews sources, "the candidate, Fr. Yue, is ready and eager, but his priests threaten to desert him".

Members of the underground Catholic Church were "saddened" about what is happening in the official Church, especially the illicit ordinations and suggest the Vatican proceed in appointing bishops to underground communities. For several years, the Vatican, hoping for an agreement with the Chinese government, has blocked all ordinations of underground bishops.

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See also
Harbin’s illicit ordination strengthens "excommunicated". Apostolic administrator released
06/07/2012
Liaoning priests rush to defense of bishop to prevent his participation in illegitimate ordination
08/07/2011
The Holy See condemns Leshan ordination
04/07/2011
Officials kidnap bishops of Guangdong to force them to take part in illicit Shantou ordination
11/07/2011
Beijing: crackdown on Catholics, priests who challenge illegal ordinations denied entry
27/07/2011