Vatican Denounces Chinese Bishop Ordination

The Vatican has denounced the ordination of a Chinese bishop by a state-run church, saying it is a "grave violation of Catholic discipline."

In a statement Wednesday, the Vatican said the ordination of Reverend Joseph Guo Jincai was done despite objections from Pope Benedict.

It said the pope received the news with "deep regret."

Jincai was ordained Saturday in the northern city of Chengde.

The Vatican said the ordination places the city's Catholics in a "very delicate and difficult decision."

It also accused Chinese authorities of pressuring bishops to participate in the ceremony, which the Vatican said violated "freedom of religion and conscience."

China officially allows freedom of religion but requires groups to register with the government. This has created conflicts with outside authorities like the Vatican, which disagrees with the government about who has the right to appoint bishops.

Such conflicts have driven many Christians into underground, or "house" churches, where they face the threat of official harassment. Some have been imprisoned or forced to work in labor camps because of their beliefs.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP