Vatican City — The Vatican has excommunicated two Chinese bishops ordained without the Pope’s consent.
The Vatican strongly criticized the ordination of bishops by China’s state-approved Catholic Church, saying earlier Thursday that they represent a ”grave violation of religious freedom” and hinder dialogue between the Vatican and Beijing.
A statement from the Vatican spokesman said Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened at the news of the ordinations, which took place without Vatican approval. It called on Chinese authorities to prevent any such moves in the future – noting that they lead to excommunication.
”The Holy Father learned of the news with great sadness,” Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in the statement. ”It is a great wound to the unity of the Church.”
On Wednesday, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association ordained Liu Xinhong as bishop at the city of Wuhu’s St. Joseph’s Church in the eastern province of Anhui.
It was the second ordination in three days without the consent of the Vatican, which traditionally appoints its own bishops. On Sunday, China’s official church ordained Ma Yinglin as a bishop in the southwestern province of Yunnan.
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association has said the new appointments were meant to fill shortages and were not intended to offend the Vatican.
Canonist Ed Peters wonders about the canonical validity of the illicit episcopal ordinations. He raises the point about Mormon baptism being invalid despite proper matter and form and their invalidity is based totally on intention. It would be easy to make the case that the Chinese ordination could have a similar defect.
Another report says that the two bishops involved in the ordinations were also excommunicated which only makes sense.
The assertion that the vatican’s approval or non-approval would effect an ordination is fallacious at best. In order to continue with this assertion, one would then have to question the validity of the entirety of the Orthodox and Oriental Churches. In fact, there were hundreds of years when the Vatican was unable to give someone approval and the Pope himself was only ordained by the nearest local bishop.
The argument isn’t about approval by the Vatican, but the intention of those doing the ordination. You have to have proper form, matter, and intention for a sacrament to be valid. If the intention is so far off from what the Church intends the sacrament to be than it is not valid.
And as far as motive or intent CPA is a double-agent, in that it professes to be loyal, while an enemy (The Communist Party) runs it to do damage to the True Church and confuse the True Church’s followers.
The Vatican MUST excommunicate or do what other visible acts to clear the confusion of the faithful. The “real” mission of the CPA is not saving souls, but to act as a propaganda and misinformation arm of the Communist Party. The people who function in the CPA are not necessarily wise to this, but the leadership at the top certainly is.
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