The priest José Huang Bingzhang was ordained bishop of Shantou (Guangdong) yesterday at a ceremony headed by prelate Fang Xinyao, President of the National Patriotic Association, known as “Patriotic Church” controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Eight bishops in communion with Rome were required to attend The illegitimate ordination, said Vatican, stressing that the bishops placed their hands on the new bishop, who was automatically excommunicated, as established by the Code of Canon Law.
“We are in pain and worry what happened today in China. The Pope have expressed recently after similar cases. It is an act that is contrary to the Catholic Church,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.
The new episcopal ordination occurs after the last case on June 29, when Lei Shiying was ordained bishop without the pope’s permission to Leshan (China), and November 20 last year when the bishop of Chengde was ordained (also without papal approval).
After Lei Shiying, the Vatican said the Pope was deeply “saddened”, the Pope urged the Chinese Catholics to unity and expressed the solidarity.
“The Rev. Lei Shiyin, ordained without the pontifical mandate and therefore unlawfully, is deprived of authority to govern the diocesan Catholic community and the Vatican does not recognize him as bishop of Leshan (Sichuan Province). They keep the penalties provided in Article 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, “the Vatican said in a statement.
In China there are between 8 and 12 million Catholics, according to the Vatican, divided between those belonging to the church controlled by the government and the underground loyal to the Vatican.
The Vatican and China have no diplomatic relations since 1951, Beijing demands that the Holy See break with Taiwan and not “interfere” in China’s internal affairs.
One of the issues facing the Vatican with Beijing is the appointment of bishops, as the Vatican claims that bishops can only be appointed by the Pope, while the “Patriotic Church” orders without papal approval.