Vatican Approves Ordination in China

A day after Chinese authorities reiterated that they sincerely intend to improve relations with the Holy See, the Vatican and Beijing agreed on the ordination as bishop of the Rev. Peter Luo Xuegang in Yibin Diocese in southwest China on Nov. 30. That cooperation marks a break with a cluster of recent ordinations made without Vatican consent. The Rev. Paul Lei Shiyin of Leshan, wearing bishop’s garb despite his excommunication earlier this year, when he was ordained without papal approval, was among four consecrating bishops at the ordination. At the Vatican, Federico Lombardi, S.J., the papal spokesperson, called the ordination “positive,” but he said Father Lei’s presence at the ceremony and the “repeated nature of his disobedience to the norms of the church unfortunately aggravates his canonical position.” Lombardi added: “In ordinary situations, the presence of the Bishop Lei Shiyin should have been absolutely excluded and would bring canonical consequences for the other participating bishops.... In the current circumstances, it is probable that [the participating bishops] were not able to prevent him without serious difficulties.”

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