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
North Korean diplomats sending their children to mental hospitals
Catholic Church in Norway ordered to pay $5.1 million for fraud
Report: North Korea executed over 1,300 people
Shark bite confirmed off North Carolina shore
Demand for mobile phones in North Korea means two per household