The Holy See has expressed concern at the news of a state-sponsored episcopal ordination in Chengde, northeastern Hebei in the People's Republic of China, in which some bishops in communion with the Pope were forced to participate.
Fr Frederico Lombardi, head of Vatican media said: "If these reports are true, then the Holy See would consider such actions as grave violations of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. It would also consider such an ordination as illicit and damaging to the constructive relations that have been developing in recent times between the People's Republic of China and the Holy See."
Fr Lombardi said: "Moreover, the Holy See confirms that Fr Joseph Guo Jincai has not received the approval of the Holy Father to be ordained as a bishop of the Catholic Church. The Holy See, keen to develop positive relations with China, has contacted the Chinese authorities on this whole matter and has made its own position clear.