Illicit Ordination Postponed in China

ROME, JUNE 9, 2011 ( The national church in China was to ordain Father Joseph Shen Guo’an as a bishop today — without Vatican approval. But the ordination has been postponed.

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The would-be illicitly ordained prelate of the Wuhan Diocese was informed about the postponement but not given a reason for it, UCANews reported Wednesday. He was not told of a date for its rescheduling either.

China last ordained a bishop without papal approval in November.

The Pope responded to that act “with deep regret,” as a Vatican communiqué noted ordinations conferred without the apostolic mandate constitute “a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline.”

Last month, Benedict XVI made an impassioned appeal to the universal Church to pray for the faithful of China. “There, as elsewhere, Christ is living out his passion,” the Pope said, adding that “the [Chinese] faithful have a right to our prayers, they need our prayers.”

“Chinese Catholics, as they have said many times, want unity with the universal Church, with the Supreme Pastor, with the Successor of Peter,” the Holy Father affirmed in his appeal. “By our prayers we can obtain for the Church in China that it remain one, holy and Catholic, faithful and steadfast in doctrine and in ecclesial discipline.”

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