Vatican condemns China over bishop's ordination

VATICAN CITY Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:43am EST

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican November 24, 2010. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican November 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican condemned China on Wednesday for naming a bishop without the pope's approval, calling the episode a "painful wound" hampering dialogue between the Holy See and Beijing.

Pope Benedict learned with "deep regret" about the November 20 ordination in Chengde of Reverend Joseph Guo Jincai, a member of the state-backed church that does not recognize the pontiff, the Vatican said in a statement.

It said various Catholic bishops loyal to the pope had come under pressure to attend the ordination ceremony.

"It is known that, in recent days, various bishops were subjected to pressures and restrictions on their freedom of movement, with the aim of forcing them to participate and confer the episcopal ordination," it said.

"Such constraints, carried out by Chinese government and security authorities, constitute a grave violation of freedom of religion and conscience," it said.

The Vatican added it would conduct an investigation into the position of each of the bishops involved.

Catholics in China are divided between one Church that recognizes the pope and his authority to name bishops and a state-backed "patriotic association" which names its own bishops.

Relations between the two had been seen to be improving, but the Vatican said Chinese authorities had decided to go ahead with the ordination of Guo despite its repeated warnings, hampering the dialogue that Pope Benedict had sought to establish with Beijing.

"The authorities decided to proceed unilaterally to the detriment of the atmosphere of respect that had been created with great effort with the Holy See and with the Catholic Church," it said.

The Vatican wants to establish diplomatic relations with China but Beijing says the Holy See must first sever ties with Taiwan, which China considers a renegade territory.

Taiwan has full diplomatic relations with only some 20 states.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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Comments (2)
Zephon wrote:
The Vatican blew it in the 1800s in China when they sent missionaries to China who were found to subvert Chinese Philosophy and steal Chinese lands with the support of Western Military machines that were trying to split China into pieces for Western Imperialists.

Something the Chinese people see as continuing today.

Ergo, China has no support for decisions from the Vatican in Chinese Catholics today.

Nov 24, 2010 1:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kc10man wrote:
Chinese leaders are just applying their Confucius middle kingdom policy to Christianity.

Pretty funny actually how they are not able to distinguish between different religions and their cultural backgrounds.

Just as those in charge feel they are so because god gave them his blessing, they to have the right to subjugate and manage anything within their domain.

Nov 24, 2010 7:41pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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