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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Tuesday said it was excommunicating a Chinese bishop ordained last week by state-sanctioned Church authorities in northeast China without Pope Benedict XVI's consent.
"The Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng, ordained without pontifical mandate and hence illicitly, has automatically incurred the sanctions laid down by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law," the Vatican said in a statement.
Under religious law, both the bishop ordained and the bishop celebrating the ceremony without papal consent are excommunicated, meaning that they can no longer receive the Eucharist or take an active part in the liturgy.
"Consequently the Holy See does not recognise him as bishop of the Apostolic Administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the Province of Heilongjiang," it added.
The ordination took place last Friday despite repeated Vatican warnings.
"All Catholics in China -- pastors, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful -- are called to defend and safeguard that which pertains to the doctrine and tradition of the Church," the Vatican said.
The Vatican said China should "not encourage gestures contrary" to dialogue.
Chinese Catholics number around 5.7 million according to official statistics and 12 million according to independent sources. They are divided between the official Church and an underground one loyal to the pope.