China criticizes Vatican for excommunicating bishops

July 25, 2011

China said on Monday the Vatican’s recent excommunication of two Chinese bishops who were ordained without papal approval was “unreasonable” and “rude,” in a sign of escalating tensions between the Vatican and Beijing.

In the government’s first response to the Vatican’s recent denunciations of the ordinations by China’s state-sanctioned Catholic church, the State Bureau of Religious Affairs said it was “greatly concerned” about the excommunication of Joseph Huang Bingzhang and Lei Shiyin.

The “threats of excommunication” are “extremely unreasonable and rude, which has severely hurt the feelings of Chinese Catholics and made its members feel sad,” state news agency Xinhua quoted a spokesman for the bureau as saying.

Huang was ordained without papal approval as bishop in Shantou City in southern Guangdong province in mid-July, and Lei was named as bishop of the city of Leshan on June 29.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (Pope Benedict XVI conducts the holy mass of Pentecost Sunday in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, June 12, 2011)

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