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Foreign priests concelebrate with illicit bishop
Foreign priests at illicit ordination 'damages' trustBishop Joseph Ma Yinglin presides over priestly ordination on March 26
- ucanews.com reporter, Beijing
- April 11, 2012
As the bishop is not recognized by the Holy See, there are fears that the event may harm the unity of the Church in China.
One canonist outside the country, who preferred to remain anonymous, was especially concerned about the foreign priestsâ€™ participation.
â€śThe Code of Canon Law forbids an excommunicated person, bishop or priest, to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals and to receive the sacraments,â€ť he said.
â€śThis is also binding on any legitimate priests who take part in an illicit act performed by an illicit bishop.â€ť
He added that â€śthose priests should give an explanation of the facts and ask for pardon to their legitimate ordinaries. The general superiors also have to inform the Holy See.â€ť
However, he also expressed his opinion that â€śbehind all these illicit acts and irregularities stands the policy of the Communist party, who use the Church and their clergy for other purposes, while ignoring the religious one.â€ť
Father John Baptist, a priest and blogger, was even more scathing about the foreignersâ€™ involvement.
â€śTheir act is like an injection of heart stimulants to the separatists of the China Church, seriously misleading and confusing the Catholics. It was done either out of unforgivable ignorance or malice,â€ť he said.
â€śIt not only hurts the China Church but also damages the trust of Chinese Catholics in the universal Church,â€ť he continued, â€śas they may think the Vatican is a hypocrite, condemning illicit bishops while still allowing foreign priests to concelebrate with them.â€ť
Father Hua Bei, a priest in northern China, recalled a similar incident in 2010 when retired Archbishop Joseph Cheng Tsai-fa of Taipei went back to his home town to attend the episcopal ordination of Joseph Cai Bingrui as Bishop of Xiamen (Amoy) diocese.
One of his concelebrants was an illegitimate bishop, Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong. â€śIt is impossible that Archbishop Cheng did not anticipate that the illegitimate bishop would be there,â€ť said Fr Hua Bei, who claims that Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association then seized upon the archbishopâ€™s involvement to support the "self-election and self-ordination" of bishops.
â€śThis time, three foreign priests have attended a liturgy in which Bishop Ma ordained priests under his illegitimate status,â€ť he said. â€śWonâ€™t that give another opportunity to rationalize illicit ordinations?â€ť
At the ordination in Yunnan, a local source claimed that the foreign priests had arrived without invitation, but said â€śwe had no reason not to let them concelebrate.â€ť
Illicit ordination is bullet in disguise
Yunnan ordains new priests