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July 17th, 2011
05:55 AM ET

Vatican's battle with China over church control heats up

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

The Vatican stepped up its battle with the Chinese Catholic Church this weekend, excommunicating a bishop who was ordained during the week without the pope's permission.

Pope Benedict XVI "deplored" the "illicit" ordination of the Rev. Joseph Huang Bingzhang and expelled him from the church because he was "ordained without papal mandate," the Vatican said Saturday.

He was the second bishop ordained by Chinese Catholics without Vatican permission in the past month, and at least the third in the past year, as Beijing and Rome struggle over control of the Catholic Church in China.

Huang Bingzhang was ordained as Bishop of the Diocese of Shantou in southeast China on Thursday, the Vatican said, although Rome had asked him "on numerous occasions not to accept episcopal ordination."

The Vatican said some local bishops had been forced to take part in the ordination, but did not make clear how it knew that.

It issued a stern condemnation after the Rev. Paul Lei Shiyin was ordained as bishop June 29, excommunicating him and saying he was "unacceptable to the Holy See as an episcopal candidate for proven and very grave reasons."

It took a similar line last November, when Joseph Guo Jincai was ordained a bishop without authority from Rome.

At the time, China charged the Vatican with interfering with religious liberty in China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said then that the Chinese Catholic Church was independent and that any "intervention" constituted "restriction of freedom and nontolerance."

That was the first time since 2006 that China's Catholic Church was known to have anointed bishops without approval from Rome, the Vatican said in November.

The United States expressed serious concerned about religious freedom in China in its annual global report on the subject in November.

Despite some limited praise for Beijing, the State Department listed China as one of eight countries of "particular concern" on religious freedom.

It accused China of persecuting followers of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and Uyghur Muslims in western China.

Only Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants are allowed to practice their religions legally in China, the State Department said.

The Vatican's excommunication of Huang Bingzhang came on the same day that President Barack Obama met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Washington.

That meeting prompted China to accuse the United States of "hurting the feelings of the Chinese people" and interfering with China's internal affairs.

CNN's Hada Messia and Stephen Jiang contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • China • Pope Benedict XVI • Religious liberty

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soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Grace

    So in short, this proves that the Church is really just a power-play. The Vatican wan't more control over... people, religon, how 'their' religon is practiced, etc.

    Actually, Christianity would've failed miserably and they would've all been killed off if Rome and it's leader's didn't see it as a good tool, politically.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  2. AvdBerg

    By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course (Psalms 82:5). For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to read the latest article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Please ignore any messages that inform you that we are on a troll and that ask you to activate the abuse button or even refer you to a gaychristian website. It is an attempt to discredit the work of our Ministry, which is for the edifying of the Body of Christ – His Church (Eph. 4:12).

    July 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • .....

      Thanks for proving what a troll you are by posting the same thing over and over again. This AvdBerg is a troll on this site trying to sell their cult and book, when ever you see their post click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 29, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    "The same phenomena and portents of the sudden darkness at the sixth hour, a strong earthquake, rent stones, a temple entrance broken in two, and the rising of the dead have been reported by multiple ancient writers for the death of Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC." – Sources Wikipedia (John T. Ramsey & A. Lewis Licht, The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games, Atlanta 1997, p. 99–107)

    July 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course . For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  4. David Johnson

    The Dead Sea Scrolls did not mention Jesus or have any New Testament scripture.

    Jesus, if he existed, was not considered important enough to write about by any contemporary person. The myth hadn't had a chance to flourish.

    Paul's writings were the first, about Jesus. But, Paul's writing was done 25 to 30 years after Jesus was dead. In a primitive, ultra-supersti_tious society, 25 years is a lot of time for a myth to grow. Twenty-five years was most of the average person's lifespan in the 1st Century.

    Some people feel that Paul, not Jesus, is the real father of what most Christians believe today (Pauline Christianity).
    Paul never actually met Jesus.

    Questions on the Crucifixion story:

    "Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save." Mark 15:31

    "Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe..." Mark 15:32

    It would appear, that the chief priests are admitting that Jesus "saved" others. If they knew this, then there is no reason for them to demand that Jesus descend from the cross, in order for them to believe. They already admitted to knowing of Jesus' "miracles".

    This is just an embellishment by Mark. A work of fiction possibly constructed to make it appear that some Old Testament "prediction" was fulfilled.

    Here is some more:

    According to Luke 23:44-45, there occurred "about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."

    Yet not a single secular mention of a three hour ecliptic event got recorded. 'Cause it didn't happen!

    Mathew 27 51:53
    51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
    How come nobody wrote about zombies running through the cities? 'Cause it is all b.s.

    An interesting note:

    July 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.