Vatican City, Dec 21, 2016 / 08:34 am
After the recent unauthorized ordination of bishops in China, which falls just ahead of a major meeting for Chinese Catholic representatives, the Vatican has issued a statement reaffirming their position on the matter.
“Some journalists have asked for the Holy See's thoughts regarding both the recent episcopal ordinations in Chengdu and Xichang and the Ninth Assembly of Representatives of Chinese Catholics,” a Dec. 19 communique from Vatican spokesman Greg Burke read.
With the latter set to take place in just a few days, Burke stressed that the Holy See’s position on two events, “which involve aspects of doctrine and the discipline of the Church,” have been “noted for some time.”
In fact, the Vatican issued statement Nov. 7 stressing that rumored bishop ordinations taking place within the so-called “underground Church” in China had neither the authorization of the Holy See, nor had they been officially communicated.
“The Holy See has not authorized any ordination, nor has it been officially informed of such events. Should such episcopal ordinations have occurred, they would constitute a grave violation of canonical norms,” the communique read.
In his Dec. 19 statement, Burke noted the presence of an illegitimate bishop at the ordinations, stressing that his “canonical position is still being studied” following “his illegitimate ordination.”
The bishop’s presence “has created hardship for the parties concerned and turmoil among Chinese Catholics,” Burke said, adding that the Holy See “understands their pain.”
The ordinations happened shortly before the Ninth Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives, which is set to take place Dec. 26-30 in Beijing.