[singlepic id=39 w=320 float=right]That’s how a statement from the Holy See describes last Wednesday’s Episcopal ordination in the Diocese of Leshan, China.
There was no Papal mandate for the ordination of Fr. Paul Lei Shiyin, and hence the Holy See does not recognize him as the Bishop of the Diocese nor does he have authority to govern it. Without the mandate, the ordination is "directly opposed to the spiritual role of the Supreme Pontiff and damages the unity of the Church."
The statement explains the importance of the Papal mandate:
The survival and development of the Church can only take place in union with him to whom the Church herself is entrusted in the first place, and not without his consent as, however, occurred in Leshan. If it is desired that the Church in China be Catholic, the Church’s doctrine and discipline must be respected.
The Holy See had previously informed Fr. Lei Shiyin that he was not acceptable as an Episcopal candidate “for proven and very grave reasons,” adding the consecrating Bishops have “exposed themselves to the grave canonical sanctions laid down by the law of the Church.”
The ordination “deeply saddened” Pope Benedict, noted the statement. It concluded with the Holy Father sending the faithful of China “a word of encouragement and hope, inviting them to prayer and unity.”
Read the full statement here
CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Leshan, UCAN