Chinese Father Joseph Yue Fusheng has been automatically excommunicated for allowing himself to be illicitly ordained a bishop despite repeated warnings from the Vatican, reports the Catholic News Service.
"The Holy See does not recognise him as bishop of the apostolic administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the province of Heilongjiang," the Vatican said in a written statement on July 10.
It also praised the new auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, who has been restricted by the government after saying he would give up his role in the government-approved Catholic Patriotic Association.
Father Yue was ordained bishop of Harbin on July 6 without papal mandate following an acrimonious exchange of notifications between the Vatican and Beijing on the issue of illicit ordinations.
Five Vatican-approved bishops took part in the rite, held at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province. Two other Vatican-approved prelates who were invited to the ceremony did not attend, citing illnesses, but sent messages of apology and congratulation.
The Vatican said that those bishops who took part in the July 6 ordination had "exposed themselves to the sanctions laid down by the law of the church," which entail automatic excommunication.
Bishops' ordinations that are not authorised by the pope generally bring the penalty of automatic excommunication. However, because in some cases there may be mitigating circumstances - including fear of reprisal, necessity or serious inconvenience - those bishops in attendance "must give an account to the Holy See of their participation in that religious ceremony," it said.
Father Yue automatically incurred the penalty of excommunication because he "had been informed some time ago that he could not be approved by the Holy See as an episcopal candidate, and on several occasions he had been asked not to accept episcopal ordination without the pontifical mandate," it said.
FULL STORY Illicitly ordained Chinese bishop excommunicated (CNS)