CHINA / National

FM: Criticism on bishops ordination unfounded
Updated: 2006-05-07 15:52

China on Sunday regrets the Vatican's criticism of its ordination of two Catholic bishops, saying the accusations were "unfounded".

"The Vatican's criticism of the Chinese Catholic churches were unfounded and were in disregard to their history and reality," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.

"The Chinese government regrets the criticism from the Vatican on the matter," Liu said.

On Thursday, the Vatican's spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls criticized China for ordaining two Catholic bishops and threatened to punish the bishops ordained and the believers who participated in the process.

"A spokesman for the State Administration of Religious Affairs had fully expounded the stance of the Chinese government on the matter on Saturday," Liu said.

He said the Chinese government pursues "consistent" and "clear" principles in dealing with China-Vatican relations.

The Vatican must terminate its so-called diplomatic links with Taiwan, and it should not interfere in China's internal affairs, including any intervention under the pretext of religious affairs, said Liu.

"The Chinese government is always sincere and has made unremitting efforts in improving its ties with the Vatican," the spokesman said.

China is willing to have constructive dialogues with the Vatican and seek ways to improve China-Vatican relations, Liu said.

A spokesman for the State Administration of Religious Affairs on Saturday defended the ordination of the two Catholic bishops by Chinese believers, saying the Vatican's criticism on China in this regard "makes no sense."

Also on Saturday, the Catholic Patriotic Association of China and Chinese Catholic Bishops College issued a statement, saying that the selection and ordination of the bishops fully reflected the wish of priests and believers and strictly followed Catholic traditions.


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