Beijing Prepares Next Illicit Ordination

How Far Will China Go in Forcing Bishops to Participate?

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ROME, JULY 19, 2011 ( The French agency Eglises d’Asie is reporting that China’s next illicit ordination will happen in the coming few days.

This will be the third episcopal ordination without the Pope’s approval since June 29.

The ordination is scheduled for the Diocese of Harbin, which already has an «underground» bishop, Wei Jingyi. The candidate is Father Joseph Yue Fu Sheng, 47.

At the Patriotic Association meeting in December, Father Yue was elected vice president.

According to AsiaNews, the ordination in Harbin has already been postponed because of the resistance of the faithful.

Eglises d’Asie proposed that this new ordination will be a test of how far «Chinese authorities are prepared to go to oblige bishops who have the recognition of both Rome and Beijing to attend the ceremony.»

AsiaNews detailed the precedent already set by the government for the July 14 ordination: The faithful of Liaoning managed to prevent the kidnapping of their bishop, who had been pegged as the chief concelebrant of the ordination. The faithful staged a sit-in in the cathedral until the ordination date had passed. Another bishop went into hiding. Four others, however, were taken by authorities a few days before the ordination and did not return to their dioceses until Sunday.

In response to last December’s national Church activities, AsiaNews reported, Bishop Li Lianghui of Cangzhou, Hebei, went into hiding. He was subsequently hunted and arrested, and forced to three months of isolation and «brainwashing to convince him of the Party’s ‘good intentions’ towards the Church.»

In a statement Saturday, the Vatican lauded the faithful who are resisting government pressure.

«With regard to this resistance,» the statement said, «it should be noted that it is meritorious before God and calls for appreciation on the part of the whole Church. Equal appreciation is also due to those priests, consecrated persons and members of the faithful who have defended their pastors, accompanying them by their prayers at this difficult time and sharing in their deep suffering.»

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