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China urges Vatican to rescind threats to excommunicate Chinese bishops


08:06, July 05, 2012

BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on Wednesday urged the Vatican to rescind its threats to excommunicate two Chinese bishops, who are to be ordained without papal approval, and return to the "correct path of dialogue."

The threats of excommunication are "extremely unreasonable and rude," a SARA spokesperson said in a statement.

Yue Fusheng and Ma Daqin will be ordained on July 6 and July 7 in northeast China's Heilongjiang province and east China's Shanghai municipality, respectively.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association was forced to begin to ordain elected bishops in the 1950s after the Vatican threatened to impose excommunication.

The association has so far ordained more than 190 elected bishops, which has helped to guarantee and promote the healthy development of Chinese Catholic churches, according to the spokesperson.

Continuing the practice of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association ordaining elected bishops is necessary to spread the word of Catholicism in China, as there have been no bishops in several of the country's dioceses for some time, the spokesperson said.

The practice is also the strong aspiration of the majority of priests and believers and a manifestation of religious freedom, the spokesperson said.

"Any repudiation or interference with this religious practice is a restriction of freedom and an intolerant act. It is detrimental to the healthy development of Catholic churches in both China and the world," the spokesperson said.

The Chinese government is willing to discuss any issue, including the ordination of bishops, with the Vatican, but the government will continue to support the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in independently selecting and ordaining its bishops before the two sides reach a consensus, the spokesperson said.


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