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Protesters oppose scheduled illicit ordination

The ordination without papal mandate is scheduled for July 14

Members of the Hong Kong Justice and Peace Commission demand the cancellation of a scheduled illicit ordination in Shantou diocese Members of the Hong Kong Justice and Peace Commission demand the cancellation of a scheduled illicit ordination in Shantou diocese
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • China
  • July 12, 2011
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The Hong Kong Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) protested in front of the liaison office of the Central Government today against the illicit episcopal ordination in Shantou diocese this Thursday.

Father Joseph Huang Bingzhang, the bishop candidate without papal mandate, is scheduled to be consecrated on the morning of July 14. Ucanews.com has learned that nine Vatican-approved bishops have been “invited” to attend the ordination, but most of them are unwilling to violate canon law. However, there may still be changes in the number of participating bishops, sources said.

The JPC’s petition letter expressed “strong protest” to the Chinese authorities for repeated illicit ordinations, as such acts are “greatly disrespectful to the Church” and create internal division and suffering.

The protesters demanded that authorities cancel the illicit ordination, stop pressuring mainland bishops to participate in such ceremonies and respect the autonomy of the China Church and its relationship with the universal Church.

They also urged Beijing to communicate with the Vatican in good faith, equality, with a pragmatic attitude and in openness so that the local Church will be able to operate normally soon.

The news of the upcoming ordination has created chaos and disunity in the diocese in southern Guangdong province. Church sources said only a few of the 20 diocesan priests are in favor of Father Huang, while the majority remain neutral in order to avoid conflict.

A laywoman who supports Father Huang said that he has done excellent work and is active in evangelization. She said that some Church media’s biased reports have caused the bishop candidate not to be able to receive papal approval.

A source close to the Vatican said Father Huang knows clearly he is not approved by the Holy See and there is already a bishop who is in communion with the pope in Shantou diocese.

Meanwhile, a bishop in Guangdong said he is now on the way to Shantou, accompanied by government officials. Some other bishops tried to avoid going to the ordination but have been taken to guesthouses by officials. Church sources say they believe it is unlikely they can get away.

Bishop Paul Pei Junmin of Liaoning (Shenyang), who is also on the invitation list, told officials that he would not participate in the ordination, according to one priest, adding that the prelate is still staying in his bishop’s house in northeastern China today.

In these dioceses, priests and lay Catholics have prayed in recent days for their bishops and the China Church in face of this challenge. Even if they cannot change the result, some Catholics said they have at least shown the strength of their faith.

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