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» 07/04/2011
VATICAN - CHINA
The Holy See condemns Leshan ordination
by Bernardo Cervellera
In a statement made public today, the Vatican states that it does not recognize the new bishop, that he can not administer the diocese and is excommunicated. Voices in Leshan say that the new bishop has two children. The Vatican had informed some time ago that he could not be accepted as a candidate "for serious reasons”. Bishops who attended the ordination also warned. Fears that the government wants to create a de-facto schism, ordaining dozens of other bishops without papal mandate.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Holy See has come down strongly against the ordination of Fr Paul She Shiyin as bishop of Leshan (Sichuan), which took place June 29 last without the mandate of the Pope (see: 06/29/2011 Leshan: seven legitimate bishops take part in Episcopal ordination that had no papal mandate).

A statement published today by the Press Office, declares that the newly ordained bishop "has no authority to govern the Catholic diocesan community", that the Holy See "will not recognize" him as bishop of Leshan, that he has incurred excommunication.

It is also noted that the consecrating bishops (7, all in communion with the Pope), are also exposed to the possibility of excommunication, if they were not pressured by external forces to participate.

The strongly worded and form statement, reiterates that "episcopal ordination without Papal mandate is directly opposed to the spiritual role of the Supreme Pontiff and damages the unity of the Church" and states: "The Leshan ordination was a unilateral act which sows division and unfortunately produces rifts and tensions in the Catholic community in China".

The Leshan ordination is the first to occur after the Holy See had issued a statement about the excommunication incurred by those who participate - as candidates or as concelebrants – in an illicit ordination (see 13/06/2011 Illicit ordinations in China: the Holy See explains what is to be done with excommunicated bishops).

The unusual severity of tone stems primarily from the fact that in this case, the candidate, Fr. She " had been informed, for some time, that he was unacceptable to the Holy See as an Episcopal candidate for proven and very grave reasons” - reads today’s statement. According to AsiaNews sources in Leshan, the priest is already the father of one or two children and is closely linked to the Patriotic Association: he is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the Chinese parliament. He is vice-president of the Patriotic Association and was president of the PA for Sichuan.

The other reason that explains the harshness of the statement is that the PA (and government) are planning dozens of other illicit ordinations creating a de-facto schism in the Chinese Church and frustrating the efforts made by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI to reconcile the official and underground church.

The statement recalls that the Leshan ordination "has deeply saddened the Holy Father, who wishes to send to the beloved faithful in China a word of encouragement and hope, inviting them to prayer and unity."

"The survival and development of the Church – it adds- can only take place in union with him to whom the Church herself is entrusted in the first place, and not without his consent as, however, occurred in Leshan. If it is desired that the Church in China be Catholic, the Church’s doctrine and discipline must be respected".

Here below the full text of the Declaration:

STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SEE:
EPISCOPAL ORDINATION IN THE DIOCESE OF LESHAN
(PROVINCE OF SICHUAN, MAINLAND CHINA)

With regard to the episcopal ordination of the Rev. Paul Lei Shiyin, which took place on Wednesday 29 June last and was conferred without the apostolic mandate, the following is stated:

1) Rev. Lei Shiyin, ordained without the Papal mandate and hence illegitimately, has no authority to govern the diocesan Catholic community, and the Holy See does not recognise him as the Bishop of the Diocese of Leshan. The effects of the sanction which he has incurred through violation of the norm of can. 1382 of the Code of Canon Law remain in place.
The same Rev. Lei Shiyin had been informed, for some time, that he was unacceptable to the Holy See as an episcopal candidate for proven and very grave reasons.

2) The consecrating Bishops have exposed themselves to the grave canonical sanctions laid down by the law of the Church (in particular, canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law; cf. Declaration of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts of 6 June 2011).

3) An episcopal ordination without Papal mandate is directly opposed to the spiritual role of the Supreme Pontiff and damages the unity of the Church. The Leshan ordination was a unilateral act which sows division and unfortunately produces rifts and tensions in the Catholic community in China. The survival and development of the Church can only take place in union with him to whom the Church herself is entrusted in the first place, and not without his consent as, however, occurred in Leshan. If it is desired that the Church in China be Catholic, the Church’s doctrine and discipline must be respected.

4) The Leshan episcopal ordination has deeply saddened the Holy Father, who wishes to send to the beloved faithful in China a word of encouragement and hope, inviting them to prayer and unity.

From the Vatican, 4 July 2011



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See also
07/06/2012 CHINA - VATICAN
Harbin’s illicit ordination strengthens "excommunicated". Apostolic administrator released
by Jian Mei
07/11/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
Officials kidnap bishops of Guangdong to force them to take part in illicit Shantou ordination
by Jian Mei - W. Zhicheng
07/08/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
Liaoning priests rush to defense of bishop to prevent his participation in illegitimate ordination
by Jian Mei
05/09/2006 VATICAN - CHINA
Card. Zen: Chinese government is mistaken; all in China want to be led by pope
05/08/2006 CHINA - VATICAN
Undergound bishops in China ask for prayers for official priests facing pressure and threats

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