VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican said a Chinese bishop ordained illegitimately in mid-July has been automatically excommunicated and lacks the authority to govern his diocese.
At the same time, the Vatican praised bishops loyal to Rome who resisted participation in the ordination ceremony before being forced by authorities to do so.
"The Holy Father, having learned of these events, once again 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," a Vatican statement said July 16.
The Vatican was reacting to the ordination of Father Joseph Huang Bingzhang July 14 at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Shantou, in southern China's Guangdong province. Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyin, president of the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, was reportedly the main celebrant; he was one of eight Vatican-approved bishops at the ordination.