Unlawful Chinese ordination on Pope’s inauguration day

A Chinese bishop who was ordained without Vatican authorisation ordained two priests on March 19 — the day of the inauguration Mass for Pope Francis.

Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming led prayers for the new Pontiff at the unlawful Chinese ordination ceremony, praying particularly that the Pope could restore unity within the Church.

A priest of Kunming who concelebrated the Mass told UCANews the ordination had been planned several months ago for the solemnity of St Joseph.

“It was impossible to change the date because many relatives and friends have expected and prepared for this joyful occasion,” the priest said.

“I hope the outside world would not misunderstand. We ordain priests simply for the need of the local Church.”

However, UCANews said Bishop Ma’s illegitimate status created confusion among some Church observers.

One such observer, who requested anonymity, said it was “strange” that the Beijing government would send a goodwill message to the new Pope while allowing Bishop Ma to proceed “at this important moment.”

The observer called the Chinese ordination “a sacrilegious act which splits up the Church”.

Some faithful saw Bishop Ma’s act as confrontational.

“Is Ma signalling to the new Pope that he and the China Church would hold fast to the independent Church principle?” one of them said, wondering if the Holy See would excommunicate Bishop Ma, as he has repeatedly violated Church law.

The ordinations, of Yi-ethnic Father Paul Yue Bangshuang from Dali diocese and Jingpo-ethnic Father Joseph Bu Shuncai from Zhaotong apostolic prefecture, took place at a small church in Ruili city, on the border with Myanmar.

This is the third time Bishop Ma has ordained priests since 2006, when he was ordained as a bishop without papal mandate.

When he was ordained bishop, Rome published a strong statement against China’s practice of “self-ordination” but did not declare any canonical sanctions against Bishop Ma.



Image: UCANews

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