The Chinese government is punishing seven priests of Heilongjiang province who refused to co-operate in the illicit episcopal ordination of Father Joseph Yue Fusheng on July 6.
Government officials have forced all seven to leave their parishes to “repent of their wrongdoing”. Local sources say they are now either staying with parishioners, have returned to their home towns or have fled to other provinces.
The seven priests either did not attend the ordination or openly expressed their opposition to Fr Yue, who did not have a papal mandate. The Holy See has since declared that Fr Yue incurred automatic excommunication when he took part in the illicit ceremony.
UCANews said Fr Yue continues to celebrate Mass in bishop’s garb, but some priests in the province’s government-controlled “official” Church community are avoiding concelebrating with him, and attendance at the so-called “cathedral” in Harbin city has dropped remarkably.
Local sources said the seven disobedient priests have to submit a repentance letter to Fr Yue and concelebrate Mass with him within three months, or the government may expel them from the diocese.
Meanwhile, Bishop Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar said he expects political pressure on the unregistered Church community in Heilongjiang to increase. Bishop Wei was one of the youngest bishops in the underground Catholic Church when he was ordained in 1995.
“In past decades, the unregistered community in Hebei province has been a major target of suppression. After Bishop Paul Meng Qinglu of Hohhot was ordained in 2010, the unregistered community in Inner Mongolia suffered a strong blow last year. We can anticipate Heilongjiang would be the next after Fr Yue’s ordination,” he told UCANews.
News category: World.