facebook
twitter
search
search

Vatican won't recognize Chinese bishop

July 5, 2012 at 3:39 PM

VATICAN CITY, July 5 (UPI) -- A Chinese priest will be excommunicated if he is consecrated as a bishop of the official government-backed church, the Vatican says.

In a nasty exchange over the consecration of the Rev. Yue Fusheng, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and Chinese officials have accused each other of infringing on freedom of religion, ABC News reported. The Vatican in a statement Wednesday said Yue's appointment as bishop of Harbin has not been approved by Pope Benedict XVI and called it "unlawful."

Under Communist rule, China allows only government-recognized religious groups. Foreign priests are not allowed to function in China and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which claims 5.7 million members, has no formal ties to the Vatican.

Millions of Chinese are believed to be secret practicing Catholics, members of "underground" churches.

The Vatican said Yue's elevation would "create division and confusion among Catholics in China."

The State Administration for Religious Affairs in China called the excommunication threat "outrageous and shocking." It said the Vatican threatens the Chinese Catholic Church and the church outside China.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Israeli military calls up reserves for surprise drill
Kim Jong Un pays respects to China's fallen soldiers
No reports of injuries after 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Alaska
Boy Scouts of America ends ban on gay leadership
Cleveland police officer filmed pepper-spraying crowd of activists