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Another chinese violation of religious freedom: the communists ordain a catholic bishop without papal consent.

Photo AP – Pope Benedict XVI gestures as he is framed by bishops during his weekly general audience.

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Wednesday denounced China for ordaining a bishop without papal consent, accusing the government-backed church of gravely damaging the faith and warning that the bishop risked excommunication.

The Vatican also accused Chinese authorities of committing “grave violations of freedom of religion and conscience” by forcing Vatican-approved bishops to attend the ordination ceremony of Rev. Joseph Guo Jincai, the Vatican said in a statement.

Guo was ordained a bishop Saturday in Chengde, China, the first time in five years that the nation had carried out an ordination without Rome’s consent. News reports have said Chinese authorities forced at least three Vatican-approved bishops to attend, sequestering them for several days beforehand.

Communist China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, although millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.

In recent years under Pope Benedict XVI, relations have improved and Benedict has said that restoring diplomatic relations with Beijing is a priority. Disputes over appointments in China’s official church have been avoided by quietly conferring on candidates, leading to several ordinations of bishops with the Holy See’s blessing.

But Guo, a deputy secretary of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the state-controlled group that runs Catholic churches in China, didn’t have the pope’s consent. He now risks an automatic excommunication, the harshest punishment in church law, the Vatican said.

In response, Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said… READ MORE HERE