Vatican condemns China-sponsored ordination

Pope learned of Father Joseph Guo Jincai`s ordination "with deep regret".

Vatican City: The Vatican on Wednesday condemned China after its government-backed Catholic church ordained a bishop on Saturday without papal consent.

Pope Benedict XVI learned of Father Joseph Guo Jincai`s ordination "with deep regret", according to a statement released by the Vatican.

The ordination of Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai, took place in the Church of Chengde, in the China`s eastern Hebei province where, according to AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news service, Vatican approved bishops were instructed by Chinese authorities to attend the ordination.

The Vatican said their forced attendance "constitutes a grave violation of freedom of religion", and places the bishops "in a very delicate and difficult condition".

The Vatican last week warned it would consider any move by China to force Roman Catholic bishops to attend a state-sponsored ordination of a bishop not recognised by the pope a transgression against personal liberty.

While Vatican-China relations have improved, the communist nation`s state-backed Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association did not request Rome`s approval. Without the pope`s approval, Guo risks excommunication, the Church`s most serious punishment.