By Bridget O’Donnell
China’s first bishop to be ordained in 2012 will oversee the Nanchong Diocese in Sichuan.
Drama in the Catholic Church! In yet another display of clashes between China and the Vatican, an excommunicated bishop, as well as two others with questionable standing, were allowed to participate in China’s first two ordination ceremonies of 2012 without papal approval. The Vatican is not pleased.
The first incident took place last week in Sichuan province’s Nanchong diocese, when Mgr. Paul Lei Shiyin dressed up in holy robes and was one of six to lay hands on Joseph Chen Gong’ao, China’s first ordained bishop of 2012.
Lei Shiyin, who was ordained bishop of Leshan diocese last year without papal mandate, was later excommunicated by the Holy See.
Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong commented on the ceremony, saying:
“The mixing of illegitimate with the legitimate is wrong, and should not be allowed. I hope this won’t happen anymore in the future, and that anyone the one who committed the offence on this occasion should repent and submit a request to the Holy Father for pardon.”
According to La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, Mgr. Lei Shiyin’s case will be discussed at next week’s Commission for China session in the Vatican. But the Commission, which was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, does not have any decision-making power.
Meanwhile, during yesterday’s ordination of Methodius Qu Ailin in Hunan province, two bishops with questionable standing took part in the ceremony.
Bishops Joseph Li Shan of Beijing and Joseph Liu Xinhong of Anhui presided at the ceremony, despite the former being considered an “illegitimate” bishop and the latter having an unclear status with the Church. (While never formally excommunicated, Li Shan is considered illegitimate because ordained in 2006 without the Vatican’s approval).
Beijing has been known for routinely allowing non-Vatican-approved bishops to preside over ordinations.
Flickr image via bvelynn.