The Vatican on Recent Illicit Ordinations of Bishops in China

As you may have heard, the government of China coerced the participation of Catholic bishops in China in the ordination of a couple of men to the episcopacy, ordinations that did not have papal mandate and thus are illicit, though not invalid. Ordinarily, any bishop who would participate in such an ordination would be excommunicated as would the man ordained. But since there was coercion involved, there were special considerations.

The Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Commission for the Catholic Church in China took place in the Vatican from April 11-13. At its conclusion, the participants addressed a formal message to the Catholics in China that addressed this issue and others pertaining to the Catholic Church in China.

I include the message here for you to read: Message to Chinese Catholics

The relations between the Holy See and the Chinese government had been improving until the government forced this ordination. As you may know, there is a government sanctioned Church in China that is made up of validly ordained men, but the bishops are all ordained without mandate from the Pope and are subject to government control. In contrast, there is a large “underground” Catholic church made up of bishops, priests and faithful all of whom are in union with the Holy Father, and suffer greatly. ┬áMany dioceses in China lack a bishop because the government historically has not accepted papal appointments to these posts. All of this was beginning to change for the better until recent events.

Let us pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in China, a land marked by egregious abuses in the areas of human and religious rights.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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