China and Vatican fight over control of church
November 25th, 2010
08:37 AM ET

China and Vatican fight over control of church

A long-simmering battle between the Vatican and China over  control of the Chinese Catholic Church blew up this week over the creation of a  new Chinese Catholic bishop without the pope's permission.

The Roman Catholic Church said Beijing forced bishops to participate in  the ordination of Joseph Guo Jincai, while China charged the Vatican with  interfering with religious liberty in China.

Guo was ordained a bishop on Saturday, the Vatican said, calling the  unauthorized act "a grave violation of Catholic discipline."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that the  Chinese Catholic Church was independent and that any "intervention" constituted  "restriction of freedom and non-tolerance."

The Vatican had warned Beijing "several times" this year not to make Guo a bishop, it said.

Going ahead with the ordination anyway "offends the Holy Father, the  Church in China and the universal Church, and further complicates the present  pastoral difficulties," the Vatican said.

It's the first time since 2006 that China's Catholic Church is known to  have anointed bishops without approval from Rome, the Vatican said Thursday.

The Vatican excommunicated the two bishops created in 2006, and Wednesday  threatened to excommunicate both Guo and the bishops who presided over his appointment.

The Chinese government subjected bishops "to pressures and restrictions  on their freedom of movement" to force them to ordain Guo, the Vatican charged  in a statement.

That constitutes a "grave violation of freedom of religion and  conscience," the statement said.

The Roman Catholic Church and Beijing had been working towards warmer  relations since 2007, the Vatican said.

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

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 persecution 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 States Department said.

CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing, China, contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

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

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. godDoesntCare

    religion is created by people who is looking for minions to further their own agendas. where they trade for imaginary heavenly bacon for free labor.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm |

    In your Chinese dreams.
    Excommunicate the lot of them. Excommunicate the entire nation of China if need be.

    No one is going to worship the Chinese government anyway, since it is a breach of the first commandment.

    November 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    Who cares? There is no god. No baby Jesus. No angels. No devils. No Heaven. No Hell.

    Happy Holidays!

    November 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • thorrsman

      Show proof.

      November 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bob

      Show proof that the universe was not created by a fart from a pink unicorn named phil who ate too many soft tacos from taco bell.

      November 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      WoW Bob... you may be on to something there.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Show proof."

      Show me proof that I am wrong.

      November 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • somedoody

      bob we disagree about the origins of the universe.

      BUT i literally laughed at your comment for at least 3 hearty seconds each- at least twice.

      happy thanksgiving homie

      November 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • Kari

      The first taco bell opened on March 21, 1962. I was in the first grade then. So much for the fart from a pink unicorn. . . . .

      November 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Laerion

    Meddling with religious "liberty" in China!!! come on! good morning joke 😀 that remembers me an exile religious leader... some one know as Dalai-Lama? Come China... don't make jokes!

    November 25, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  5. Prophet

    Dear Sir/madam

    There is Only One Rabbi and Only One Priest and He is Yeshua Mashiah. This is Written clearly in The Bible that is written in It's Original Form in Hebrew and the so called christian religions have re written these Writings to suit themselves and their religions so there can be no other rabbis priests and popes until Our Saviour comes and chooses them Himself.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:43 am |
    • Per

      He has come and he has chosen.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  6. Prophet

    Dear Sir, madam,

    whilst what a lot of what you say is correct it is my duty to inform you that you cannot be known as a christian.

    the word christian comes from the greek kristous and Yeshua Mashiah is Jewish and so his followers were known as Natzratins and anyone who Truly Believes in Yeshua Mashiah accepts His Jewishness and anyone who denies this is denying God. It so important to understand this as this is how the catholics and greeks mislead people.

    We must refer always to Our Saviour as Yeshua Mashiah as this is His Real Name and Our Salvation is In HIs Name and The Writings tell us this over and over again, until we do this we are not completely aware of our salvation.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • gerald

      Another Johnny come lately sect that comes along in the 21st century and says "here is Christ". ONLY the Catholic Church traces back to Christ and the apostles. Without the Catholic Church no other Christian denomination would exist. Fact. Sorry.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  7. Bob

    China: We've got a chinese bishop. We forced the clergy in China to anoint him.
    Vatican: Doesn't count.
    China: Yeah, it does.
    Vatican: Nuh-uh.
    China: yeah huh!
    Vatican: NUH-UH!
    China: YEAH-HUH!
    Vatican: No it doesn't, double stampies no erasies.
    China: God erases your double stampies.
    Vatican: Nuh UH. He told me we he didn't.
    China: You're lying.
    Vatican: Nuh uh. We have a monopoly on God.

    Yeah, pretty much like that.

    November 25, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • gerald

      stupid is as stupid is. You is.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  8. GrimShaw

    The communist regime using the term "non-tolerance" is a freaking joke. The Vatican may have a long checkered past, but the communists' recent history proves who the tolerant ones are and are not. They fear Christianity because Jesus or God usurps their power. Nevermind Romans 13...

    November 25, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  9. Sean

    This pro-China sentiment is the height of ignorance. You all show just how stupid you all are that you side with an oppressive regime over a religious denomination. If you had an inkling of the religious oppression in China you would understand that this is just another step in the isolation and persecution that the government is inflicting on its people. All they're doing is installing their own people in seats of power in the religious denominations by way of "tolerance". You all are fools for thinking anything less.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • GrimShaw

      Most probably have no idea that the only allowed churches in China are to get permits and preach screened sermons. If you want to preach a random sermon from the bible, you will be arrested. You must host your church underground. But I don't disagree partially because of the Book of Revelation all together. It's a history account, not a fortune.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  10. Prophet

    The end is here soon and so few believe this, they laugh at us as in the days of The Great Flood. We all have but one Salvation.


    November 25, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • GrimShaw

      Shed your ego and you might actually have a chance.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  11. 888von

    How ironic that China would consider any "intervention" as "restriction of freedom and non-tolerance."

    November 25, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  12. richard richardson

    imagine if people accepted The Truth that there cannot be catholics or any other religion as this is what is actually Written in the Very Doctrines that these so called religions follow. This is the deception of all-time. Conspiracy theory has nothing on this.

    Of course many people who follow these so called religions defend them because of one of two reasons. The first is because they have been innocently mislead by the what the religions have taught and have yet to learn what is True and the second because of the saying water finds it's own level. There are so many problems the world over that the solution is here but so few are interested.

    Adonai and Yeshua Mashiah be with you all

    richard richardson

    November 25, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  13. Live Free

    AMP is clueless or trying to confuse the issue. The Pope is head of a religious organization and the tyrannical Chinese totalitarian government is attempting to squash any semblance of religious freedom by interfering in a religion. Remember China DOES NOT believe in separation of church and state. The State dictates the church over there. Remember that next time you go to Walmart to buy cheap made in China garbage that you'll throw away soon because it broke. They are taking our sovereignty away from is by taking our hard earned $ which we trade for their garbage. They are winning a not so subtle monetary war. Wake up USA!

    November 25, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • OMG

      Way to go. AMP is just anti-Catholic. Kind of limited knowledge on global affairs as well.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • jonathan

      you mean government in China have full control over issues in China...like every government everywhere else..

      November 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  14. FreeChina

    The Foreign Ministry spokesman accused another governing body of "intervention, restriction of freedom, and non-tolerance."?! Braah-ha-hahaha!

    November 25, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • somedoody

      lol- that made me laugh too...psychotic hypocrisy

      November 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  15. AMP

    Pope has habit to interefere in every country's sorveriengty. He must stop this and look within his own priests who are abusing young children. He should utilize the money to help poor christians who are helpless around the world rather wasting time for converting non christians to christianity. Pope should quit his dream of converting whole wolrd in to Christianity. Let the people live in the religion they were born. He must respect every relgion and leave them alone.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • Brian

      The Pope isn't attempting to convert non-religious or other-religious Chinese citizens. But Chinese Catholics should be allowed the freedom to be cared-for and overseen by the Pope and not by the Chinese government. If any other world leader attempted to put a bishop or cardinal in a position in the church there would be an uproar.

      November 25, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • OMG

      The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church and all ordinations go through the Vatican. AMP you are clearly anti-Catholic. Your siding with a totalitarian government in support of your anti-Catholic convictions is disgusting. Educate yourself before you post such crap.

      November 25, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • jonathan

      The pope can care for Chinese Catholics through prayer..as all Christians can care for one another... 🙂

      November 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Per

      So you believe that the pope should not try to stop renegade priests outside of the vatican state. By the way communism was not the original faith of the chinese. The Catholic Church was there way before Communism. What was the original faith of the chinese?

      November 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • Per

      AMP. Every catholic knows that each bishop has a certain responsibility over the whole Church. The Chinese state has no right to force its lackays on the catholics of china or any other countries.

      November 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
  16. Lance

    Very clear that China is not interested in freedom. This would be an attempt to have more control over their citizens with a man on the inside.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • jonathan

      China have man on the inside everyday everywhere in China...

      November 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • lance

      when is the world going to stand up against communist china's dictaorship ?

      November 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • somedoody

      lance- who has any interest in doing that?

      November 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  17. ron m.

    the chiniese government wants to have control over whose who in the church in china. just like the protestant state churches, they are all about controling the number of people there. that's is why there is the underground church movement, that is persecuted at every chance the special authorities can get them.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:29 am |
    • jonathan

      The persecuted Church in China is glorious..we have heard of their faith as it's reputation has gone on around the world.. PTL

      November 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  18. Mike

    how about the Chinese gov't actually allows freedom of religion before they criticize a set of religious beliefs, i.e. the Pope is the head of the Catholic church

    November 25, 2010 at 9:13 am |
    • jonathan

      maybe the Chinese are simply trying to protect their children.. 🙂

      November 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  19. markjuliansmith

    religious liberty in China – simple liberty would be a good thing.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  20. pope

    well done! challenging the norm!!

    November 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
    • AthensGuy

      I heard the Vatican is getting ready to invade China...
      (sarcasm off)

      GOOD FOR CHINA! The more the authority and influence of the Vatican gets challenged and weakened, the better it will be for the world

      November 25, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • GrimShaw

      The most amazing tyrannical creature on this planet... what do you suppose it is? It is the army ant, believe it or not. Without doctrines of morality, how are we any different? China will show us..

      November 25, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • beentheredonethat

      They could have gone a bit further in the challange had they chosen a woman bishop. Perfect opportunity to have done so!

      November 25, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • gerald


      You church haters will even side with the communists who repress religion. We are not far from religous repression in the west. Even murder of those who are Christian is not beyond the likes of those with such bitterness in their hearts.

      November 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
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