DECLARATION CONCERNING ILLEGITIMATE ORDINATION IN CHINA
VATICAN CITY, 16 JUL 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy See released an English-language declaration regarding the episcopal ordination of Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang, which took place on Thursday 14 July in the diocese of Shantou (Province of Guangdong, Mainland China).
"1. Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang, having been ordained without papal mandate and hence illicitly, has incurred the sanctions laid down by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Consequently, the Holy See does not recognise him as bishop of the diocese of Shantou, and he lacks authority to govern the Catholic community of the diocese.
"Fr. Huang Bingzhang had been informed some time ago that he could not be approved by the Holy See as an episcopal candidate, inasmuch as the diocese ofShantou already has a legitimate bishop; Fr. Huang had been asked on numerous occasions not to accept episcopal ordination.
"2. From various sources the Holy See had knowledge of the fact that some bishops, contacted by the civil authorities, had expressed their unwillingness to take part in an illicit ordination and also offered various forms of resistance, yet were reportedly obliged to take part in the ordination.
"With regard to this resistance, it should be noted that it is meritorious before God and calls for appreciation on the part of the whole Church. Equal appreciation is also due to those priests, consecrated persons and members of the faithful who have defended their pastors, accompanying them by their prayers at this difficult time and sharing in their deep suffering.
"3. The Holy See reaffirms the right of Chinese Catholics to be able to act freely, following their consciences and remaining faithful to the Successor of Peter and in communion with the universal Church.
"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".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 JUL 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered there.
Commenting, as he does every Sunday, on that morning's Gospel reading, the Pope explained how the parables are "brief narratives which Jesus uses to announce the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven. Using images and situations taken from everyday life, the Lord wishes to show us the true foundation of all things. He shows us ... the God Who acts, Who enters our daily lives".
Using these narratives, "the divine Master invites us to recognise, first and foremost, the primacy of God the Father. Where He is not present, nothing good can exist. He is a decisive priority in all things. The Kingdom of heaven means, in fact, the lordship of God; in other words, His will must be assumed as the criterion-guide for our existence".
In today's Gospel Jesus compares heaven to a field of wheat, "in order to help us understand that something small and hidden, but possessing an irrepressible life force, is sown within us. Despite all the obstacles, the seed will develop and the fruit ripen, but the fruit will be good only if the terrain of life has been cultivated in accordance with the divine will.
"For this reason", the Pope added, "in the parable of the weeds among the wheat Christ warns us that, after the master had sown his seed, 'while everybody was asleep an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat'. The meaning of this is that we must be ready to protect the grace we received on the day of Baptism, continuing to nourish faith in the Lord, which prevents evil from taking root".
Finally, the Pope turned his attention to the first reading of this morning's Mass, a passage from the Book of Wisdom underscoring the mercy and power of God. "If, then, we are all children of such a great and good Father", he said, "let us seek to resemble Him. This was the goal Jesus set Himself with His preaching, when He told His hearers: ''Be perfect ... as your heavenly Father is perfect".
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