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Thursday, December 1, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 1 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Following the consecration yesterday of the coadjutor bishop of Yibin, in the Chinese province of Sichuan, a number of journalists raised the question of the presence of Bishop Lei Shiyin at the ceremony, in reply to whom Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi gave the following response:

  "I learned from the media this morning that Fr. Peter Luo Xuegang has been ordained as coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Yibin in Sichuan province. The main consecrator was the elderly diocesan bishop, Msgr. John Chen Shizhong, and all the consecrating bishops are in communion with the Holy Father with the exception of Lei Shiyin of Leshan.

  "In the wake of three recent episcopal ordinations without pontifical mandate, the fact that there is a new bishop in communion with the Pope and all the Catholic bishops of the world is certainly positive, and will be appreciated not only by Chinese bishops and faithful, but also by the universal Church. Nonetheless, the participation of an illegitimate bishop whose canonical status, as is well known, is one of excommunication, is not a step in the same direction and arouses the disapproval and dismay of the faithful, even more so because he participated as a consecrating bishop and concelebrated the Eucharist. His repeated disobedience to the norms of the Church unfortunately aggravates his canonical position.

  "In normal conditions the presence of Bishop Lei Shiyin should have been completely excluded, and would have led to canonical consequences for the other participating bishops. In the present circumstances it its probable that they were unable to avoid his presence without serious consequences. In any case the Holy See will be able to evaluate the matter in greater detail when it has received more information".
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