A Chinese bishop ordained without papal approval has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, the Vatican has said, bringing relations between the Vatican and Beijing to a new low. In a statement branding Thursday’s ordination illegitimate, the Vatican said Pope Benedict “deplores” the way communist authorities are treating Chinese Catholics who want to remain faithful to Rome instead of to the state-backed Church.
Bishops in China who are ordained without papal authorisation inflict a “grave wound” on the entire Catholic Church and should not let themselves be manipulated by the government, the Vatican has said. The Vatican issued the warning on Thursday after a meeting of a special commission that studies the situation of Catholics in China, who are not allowed to recognise the pope’s authority but forced to be members of a state-backed Church.
Hungary’s last communist leader János Kádár met a priest at his own request shortly before he died, former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh revealed on Tuesday, two decades after Kadar’s death.
(Photo: Havana’s Catholic cathedral, June 14, 2010/Desmond Boylan)
The Roman Catholic Church will open on Wednesday its first new seminary in Cuba in more than half a century in a further sign of its improving relations with the island’s communist-led government.
The Roman Catholic Church has won praise for securing the release of political prisoners in Cuba, raising hopes it can do more to broker reforms on the communist-ruled island and perhaps even help improve U.S.-Cuba ties.
China’s ruling Communist Party has a testy and often bitter relationship with religion. During the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, temples and churches were shut, statues smashed, scriptures burned, and monks and nuns forced to return to secular life, often after receiving a good beating or even jail.
Tibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, and better dressed and fed. But the bulging supermarkets, snappy new airports and gleaming restored temples of this remote and mountainous region cannot hide broad contradictions and a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans that China is sweeping away their culture.