Another Chinese episcopal ordination without the approval of Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to take place within the next week, further straining relations between the Holy See and China's government.
Fr. Joseph Huang Binzhuang is to be ordained as bishop of Shantou diocese in the southern province of Guangdong on Thursday July 14, the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News reported July 8.
Chinese authorities are reportedly pressuring the four other Catholic bishops in Guangdong to attend the ceremony.
The news comes only days after the Vatican warned Catholic churchmen that they could face excommunication for their participation in another illicit episcopal ordination in the Diocese of Leshan last month.
"Our bishop has expressed to the officials he is unwilling to go as the ordination is not approved by the Vatican and the consecrating bishops of the Leshan ordination are facing severe punishment," one local source told UCA News.
"The officials told our bishop not to worry as the government will back him and he is not alone because several other bishops will also participate," he said.
Meanwhile, in the northeast Diocese of Liaoning, priests have voted to block their Bishop, Paul Pei Junmin, from attending the Shantou bishop's ordination.