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    » 07/08/2011, 00.00


    Tensions and fears in China about new Episcopal ordination without papal mandate

    Wang Zhicheng

    Fr Joseph Huang Bingzhang, who is politically connected and ambitious, is the candidate. The Holy See told him on several occasions that it was opposed to his ordination. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association plans more unlawful ordinations.
    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese Catholics are “pained” and “concerned” about recent reports that a new Episcopal ordination is scheduled for 14 July in Shantou (Guangdong) without papal mandate.

    The latest action by the government against the Catholic Church comes a few days after the Vatican issued a statement rejecting an Episcopal ordination carried out in Leshan, on 29 June. In the same declaration, it reiterated that the ordained candidate and the ordaining clergy were excommunicated latae sententiae (see Bernardo Cervellera, “The Holy See condemns Leshan ordination,” in AsiaNews, 04 July 2011).

    If the candidate in Shantou appears at the ordination, he will be excommunicated, as would the ordaining bishops, unless they can provide concrete evidence that they are being forced into it, which is probable.

    Fr Joseph Huang Bingzhang, 44, is the candidate to the post of bishop of Shantou. He was voted in during an election controlled by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) (see Paul Wang, “Patriotic Association threatens 10 Episcopal ordinations without papal mandate,” in AsiaNews, 16 May 2011).

    In addition, not only was the election rigged, but the problem is compounded by the fact that Shantou already has a bishop, Mgr Zhuang Jianjian, who was ordained secretly with the approval of the Holy See in 2006.

    The legitimate bishop is not however recognised by the CPCA, which has tried to prevent him from performing his pastoral work. Indeed, he was placed under police surveillance last December, and was prevented from conducting his ministry during Holy Week.

    Sources told AsiaNews that the Holy See on several occasions told Fr Huang, who is politically connected and ambitious, not to run in the election.

    AsiaNews has also learnt that the CPCA is planning more unlawful Episcopal ordinations in order to bring a de facto schism between the Chinese Church and the Universal Church.
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    See also

    12/02/2016 18:44:00 VATICAN
    Pope: the Missionaries of Mercy cannot absolve unlawful bishops

    In a letter, Mgr Fisichella does not include this in the list of sins reserved for the Holy See that the Missionaries of Mercy can absolve. This involves bishops ordained "without papal mandate” in China and within the Lefebvrian community.

    07/06/2011 CHINA – VATICAN
    Unlawful ordination of Hankou bishop postponed to unspecified date
    A local priest tells AsiaNews that the ordination was postponed without explanation or a new date set. Local Catholics can now breathe a sigh of relief. The secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples had expressed concern over the possible unlawful ordination.

    29/11/2006 CHINA – VATICAN
    Bishops loyal to the Pope detained, forced to take part in unlawful ordination
    Bishops who refuse to disobey the Holy See are forced by hook and crook to take part in unlawful ordinations. The latest candidate to the bishopric is in complete isolation and cannot even be reached by phone. Government is promising huge sums of money for bishops ordinations but then fails to pay up.

    24/11/2010 VATICAN – CHINA
    Vatican shows courage as Hu Jintao is held in check
    The world’s second largest economy still relies on feudal practices worthy of the Middle Ages. Its religious policy is in the hands of one man, Liu Bainian, whose action is a throwback to Mao Zedong’s time. The new bishop’s destiny is one of isolation among Christians who reject him.

    14/07/2011 CHINA – VATICAN
    Eight bishops in communion with the pope forced to take part in illegitimate ordination in Shantou
    This is the first ordination since the illegitimate bishop of Leshan was officially excommunicated. About 1,500 people (out of 140,000) took part in the ceremony. Some participating bishops say they were forced to participate. Required to attend, Mgr Pei Junmin was able to stay away thanks to his priests.

    Editor's choices

    The new bishop of Changzhi and the many voices on China-Vatican dialogue

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The ordination will take place on November 10 in the Cathedral. The bishop had been appointed by the Holy See at least two years ago. But he was waiting for the green light from Beijing. Similar situation in Chengdu. Fears for the presence of excommunicated bishops. Reconciliation between illegitimate and official bishops is not brought about by political gestures, but depends on personal and canonical procedures. A meeting between the Chinese delegation and the Vatican is not "imminent".


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