Vatican flays 'illicit' China ordination

Vatican flays 'illicit' China ordination

The Vatican on Tuesday condemned the appointment of a Chinese Catholic bishop without its approval, hours after a source said one of Rome’s own newly-ordained bishops had been detained in a seminary in China.

In a move likely to strain already frayed relations with Beijing, the Vatican said it refused to recognise the ordination on July 6 of Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng in Harbin, complaining his elevation by Beijing’s state-run Church overseer had not been blessed by the pope and was therefore meaningless. “All Catholics in China, pastors, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, are called to defend and safeguard that which pertains to the doctrine and tradition of the Church,” the Vatican said in a statement. Branding the act illicit, it said such unsanctioned appointments “cause division and bring suffering to the Catholic communities in China and the universal Church”.

The statement was an escalation in a long-running dispute over the status of China’s state-backed church, which rejects papal control. 

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