BEIJING — The Vatican has excommunicated a newly ordained Chinese bishop, a move that is likely to exacerbate already frayed relations between the Holy See and China’s governing Communist Party.Source.
The decision to formally announce the excommunication of the bishop, the Rev. Paul Lei Shiyin of Sichuan province, came a week after China’s state-run Catholic church ignored the Vatican’s objections and went ahead with the ordination ceremony, which was attended by seven other bishops previously recognized by Rome.
Church officials said this week in a statement that Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened by the move, which “sows division and unfortunately produces rifts and tensions in the Catholic community in China.”
A spokesman for the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the government body that oversees state-run Catholic churches, would not talk about the clash with the Vatican. But in an emailed statement, the association expressed regret over the Vatican’s decision, saying it would prove divisive.
Last week, the planned consecration of another bishop in northern Hebei province ended much differently.
Bishop-elect Joseph Sun Jigen, whose appointment had been approved by the pope, was reported to have been forced into a police car three days before the planned ceremony. The ceremony was canceled and, as of earlier this week, the would-be bishop, according to parishioners, was still being held at a guesthouse.