06/28/2012, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN

Harbin’s illicit ordination delayed: Victory for "Faithfull’s prayers and fasting"

Bernardo Cervellera
The Episcopal ordination was to have taken place tomorrow, the Feast of St. Peter and Paul, as a "slap in the face to the Holy Father." Underground and official community united in prayers against the move. Voices warn the ordination only "postponed until next month." The United Front, which controls the Patriotic Associations, loses a supporter of Stalinist control over religions, Zhu Weiqun.

Rome (AsiaNews) - For months the faithful of Harbin (Heilongjiang) have been praying and fasting lest the Episcopal ordination without papal mandate go ahead, now they are quietly satisfied: the ordination, scheduled for tomorrow, will not happen.

Local sources have told AsiaNews that "there will be no ordination tomorrow."

For some time, rumors abounded in the Northern city that soon - June 29 - that Patriotic Association (PA) candidate Fr. Joseph Yue Fusheng, 48, would be ordained a bishop. The priests had been contacted by the Office of Religious Affairs and warned not to interfere and the Cathedral of Harbin had been undergoing restoration work for the occasion. Fr. Yue has been pushing for his ordination for years. In December 2010 (see: 09/12/2010 Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church) he was chosen as one of three vice-presidents of the National PA, with Paul, Lei Shiyin (Leshan diocese) and Joseph Huang Bingzhang (Shantou), both became bishops without papal approval (see: 29/06/2011 Leshan: seven legitimate bishops take part in Episcopal ordination that had no papal mandate and 14/07/2011 Eight bishops in communion with the pope forced to take part in illegitimate ordination in Shantou).

The faithful of the underground and official community have been holding moments of prayer and fasting so that such a "slap in the face to the Holy Father" would not occur. Even the priests of the diocese have declared their opposition to this ordination.

Msgr. Savio Hon Taifai, Vatican secretary of Propaganda Fide, in an interview with AsiaNews had warned the same Fr. Yue not perform such actions that are contrary to communion with the Pope (15/06/2012 Msgr. Savio Hon: episcopal ordinations with no papal mandate reveal Party's lack of ideals and internal fighting).

A local priest tells AsiaNews that in any case "our people will continue to pray and fast for the ordination to be permanently cancelled." According to rumors, in fact, it was only "postponed until next month."

The priest however stresses that this delay is the fruit of the unity of the Church of Harbin.

In the interview cited above, Msgr. Hon said that the illicit ordinations in the face of so many claims of liberal leadership, is a sign of the struggle that is taking place in the party between liberals and Stalinists, namely, the "princes", the sons of the great Party leaders, who do not want to lose their grip on power. In fact, in recent days the news emerged that one of these Stalinists, Zhu Weiqun, was forced to resign from the post of deputy director of the United Front on age grounds and has been replaced by Zhang Yijiong. The United Front controls the patriotic associations of the various religions.

Months ago, Zhu Weiqun had defended the need to strengthen Party control over religion (see: 20/12/2011 "Get thee behind me Satan": No religion for the Chinese Communist Party members

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See also
Harbin’s illicit ordination strengthens "excommunicated". Apostolic administrator released
06/07/2012
Urgent appeals by Card. Zen and Bishop Tong against illicit Shantou ordination
13/07/2011
Vatican Commission sends message to Chinese Catholics
14/04/2011
Undergound bishops in China ask for prayers for official priests facing pressure and threats
08/05/2006
The Holy See condemns Leshan ordination
04/07/2011