China: Excommunicating bishops 'unreasonable and rude'

Updated: 2011-07-25 20:01


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BEIJING -- China's State Administration for Religious Affairs on Monday said that the Vatican's threats to excommunicate two Chinese bishops, who were ordained without papal approval, were "extremely unreasonable and rude."

The practice of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association ordaining elected bishops is for the sake of managing the country's Catholic work and spreading the belief, said a statement issued by the administration.

The threats of excommunication have severely hurt the feelings of Chinese Catholics and made its members feel sad, it said.

Lei Shiyin and Joseph Huang Bingzhang were ordained on June 29 and July 14 in Leshan of Sichuan Province and Shantou of Guangdong Province respectively.

"The majority of priests and believers will more resolutely choose the path of independently selecting and ordaining its bishops, and the government will continue to support and encourage such practice," said the administration in the statement.

Chinese government is willing to improve Sino-Vatican relations through constructive dialogue, it said.

"If the Vatican is sincere about improving relations, it should rescind the so-called 'excommunications,' and return to the correct path of dialogue."