May 7, 2012

Lay Catholics in China have been scandalized by priests who are ordained bishops without papal approval and by the participation of Vatican-recognized bishops in those ordinations, said the Vatican Commission for the Catholic Church in China.

The identity of the Catholic Church as "apostolic" – guided by the faith handed down from the apostles through bishops in communion with the pope – "has been obfuscated by those clerics" who have been ordained bishops without papal recognition, said the April 26 statement.

The commission said that in administering the sacraments and exercising jurisdiction over dioceses, bishops who are not recognized by the pope "usurp a power which the church has not conferred on them."