July 13, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The Vatican has said the recently excommunicated Chinese priest, Father Lei Shiyin will not be considered a Catholic bishop, even if he were to ask for pardon from the pope. The Catholic Church has also asked the faithful, priests, and bishops of China to “resist every form of illegitimate ordination.”
The Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples released a document clarifying the Church's position on the excommunication and the illicit ordinations that have occurred in China.
They note that excommunication means Shiyin has no right to govern over the diocese and can no longer celebrate Catholic rites. However, he remains a member of the Church through his baptism and should approach the Holy See at any point for reconciliation.
The Holy See also clarified the status of bishops who participated in the illicit ordination. The seven legitimate bishops who were present are deemed excommunicated unless they can prove they were forced to participate against their will.
The new spokesperson for the Church of China has responded saying “the ordination is a demonstration of religious liberty in China.” He said by choosing their own bishops they are following “decades of tradition and independence.”