China calls Vatican 'unreasonable' in bishop spat

July 25, 2011 - 7:14 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China says the Vatican's anger over recent ordinations of Chinese bishops without papal approval is "extremely unreasonable and rude."

Tensions between the nations have escalated as China named three bishops in the past eight months without the approval of the Holy See. The Vatican insists the pope has sole right to appoint bishops. Beijing's Communist leaders see that position as foreign interference.

China's religious affairs administration said in a statement Monday the Vatican's "threats to excommunicate" two of the bishops have "severely hurt the Chinese Catholic church and pained priests and believers."

Beijing severed ties with the Holy See in 1951 after the Communist Party took power and set up its own church outside the pope's authority.