HARBIN, China -- Chinese government officials have forced seven priests in Heilongjiang province who resisted the illicit episcopal ordination of Father Joseph Yue Fusheng of Harbin to leave their parishes, local Catholic Church sources said.
The action was taken, the sources said, to force the priests to "repent for their wrongdoing," reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.
The priests are either staying with parishioners, returned to their hometowns or have fled to other provinces, according to the sources.
Prior to the July 6 ordination, religious officials within the Chinese government warned that disobedient priests would face dire consequences. In recent weeks, they ordered priests with "dissatisfactory performances" to take three months of leave for self-examination, sources said.
The seven priests were either absent from the ordination or openly expressed their opposition to Father Yue, who did not receive a papal mandate and is seen as being too close to the government.