Vatican excommunicates China bishop,slams Beijing

VATICAN CITY, July 16 Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:34am EDT

VATICAN CITY, July 16 (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Saturday that a Chinese bishop ordained without papal approval had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, bringing relations between the Vatican and Beijing to a new low.

In a statement condemning Thursday's ordination of the bishop as illegitimte, the Vatican also said Pope Benedict "deplores" the way communist authorities are treating Chinese Catholics who want to remain faithful to Rome instead of switching their allegiance to the state-backed Catholic church. (Editing by Tim Pearce) (For more on faith and ethics, see the Reuters religion blog FaithWorld at blogs.reuters.com/faithworld )

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