Four of the priests with relatives and friends after the ceremony
Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, who remains unrecognized by the Vatican, presided over the ordination of six priests on Monday, despite warnings and criticism from within and outside China.
The ceremony took place at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the ancient city of Dali.
A local Church source, who asked not to be named, said three foreign priests were among the 16 concelebrants. They were an American Maryknoll priest studying in Dali and two Korean Benedictine priests whose order makes donations to the Dali minor seminary.
“They came here upon learning the news of the ceremony. We had no reason for not letting them concelebrate,” said the source.
The new priests belong to the three ecclesiastical territories in southwestern Yunnan province – Dali diocese, Kunming diocese and Zhaotong apostolic prefecture.
When asked if any of them were unwilling to be ordained by the illegitimate bishop, the source said: “I don’t know but I saw they were happy.”
Hundreds of Catholics, most of them from various ethnic minorities in the area, were also overjoyed to welcome the new priests at the first ordination ceremony they had ever attended, he noted.
Due to repeated violations of Church law, Bishop Ma now finds it more difficult to receive pardon from the Holy See, said Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher of Hong Kong diocese’s
Holy Spirit Study Centre.
“It is very dangerous for the country and society to have a ‘son of corruption’ like Ma, as the mindset of conniving corruption is contagious, which would encourage more opportunists who disregard Church principles.”
But for the ordination, “we cannot condemn it entirely” as it was mixed with joy and illegality, said Lam.
“For the sake of pastoral needs, we won’t criticize in a lofty tone, but it doesn’t mean we tolerate,” he said.
Before the ordination, some mainland bloggers appealed to Bishop Ma to “repent and avoid making another mistake,” while others said he is doing “a glorious deed for China.”
Another blogger ascribed the confusing situation in China to the Vatican’s compromising policies.
“It is time for Vatican officials to make reflection,” the blogger wrote.
Illicit bishop to ordain ethnic priests
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