BEIJING (AP) -- China and the Vatican are again sparring over the ordination of a new bishop, underscoring the glaring lack of progress toward resolving the most contentious issue dividing the sides.
A statement issued Wednesday by China's State Bureau of Religious Affairs accused the Holy See of obstructing the development of Catholicism in China by wielding the threat of excommunication over the ordination of a new bishop of the northern city of Harbin.
That followed a note from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome that China's candidate, the Rev. Yue Fusheng, did not have papal approval and risks excommunication if he agrees to be ordained, along with any bishops participating in the ceremony.
The note stressed that the pope's insistence on naming bishops is purely religious, not political, and that he was in no way seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.
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