THE Holy See Friday excommunicated Father Joseph Huang Bingzhang, who was ordained as Bishop of Shantou without apostolic mandate on July 14.
This is the second latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication publicly declared on an illicit bishop in the Church of China since the first such ordination on July 4. As in the first one, today’s statement said the Holy See does not recognize the illicitly ordained prelate and that he has no authority to govern the Catholic community of the diocese.
The statement said the Holy See has asked Father Huang not to accept ordination on “numerous occasions” and had informed him that he could not be approved, inasmuch as the diocese already has a legitimate bishop. In light of this, the statement said the priest has incurred the sanctions laid down by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law.
As for the eight consecrating bishops, the statement said the Holy See knows some bishops expressed their unwillingness to take part in the ordination and showed some signs of resistance, which the document says is “meritorious before God.”
The statement also said the Vatican appreciates the Chinese Catholics who have defended their pastors and shared their suffering.
Pope Benedict XVI “deplores the manner in which the Church in China is being treated and hopes that the present difficulties can be overcome as soon as possible,” the document concluded.
Meanwhile, in a press conference on July 14 during his visit to New York, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said “it’s a war,” when characterizing the current standoff between the Vatican and Beijing.
The retired bishop of Hong Kong said he hopes Beijing is made aware of the problem in this new confrontation over the Shantou incident and comes to dialogue with the Vatican so that both sides can find a resolution to the situation.