China Priests Pressured

Chinese government officials have forced seven priests in Heilongjiang province who resisted the illicit episcopal ordination of the Rev. Joseph Yue Fusheng of Harbin to leave their parishes. The priests have either stayed with parishioners, returned to their hometowns or fled to other provinces. Prior to the ordination on July 6, religious officials within the Chinese government warned that disobedient priests would face dire consequences. In recent weeks, they ordered priests with “dissatisfactory performances” to take three months leave for self-examination. The seven priests were either absent from the ordination or openly expressed their opposition to Father Yue, who did not receive a papal mandate. The Vatican declared that Father Yue incurred automatic excommunication for participating in the illicit ceremony. Despite the action, he continues to celebrate Mass in bishop’s garb.

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