Vatican Denounces China for Bishop Ordination

Last Saturday, the government-backed Patriotic Chinese Catholic Association ordained a bishop without the consent of the Vatican, and today Pope Benedict XVI responded. From AP:

Pope Benedict XVI learned of the ordination of Rev. Joseph Guo Jincai “with deep regret” as it constituted a “grave violation” of church law and hampered reconciliation efforts that have been a priority for the papacy, the Vatican press office said.

The Vatican also accused Chinese authorities of committing “grave violations of freedom of religion and conscience” by forcing Vatican-approved bishops to attend the ceremony.

Guo was ordained a bishop Saturday in Chengde, the first time in five years that China had carried out an ordination without Rome’s consent. News reports have said Chinese authorities forced at least three Vatican-approved bishops to attend, sequestering them for several days beforehand.

Communist China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, although millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.