China says Vatican very rude
Beijing - China said the Vatican's threats to excommunicate two Catholic bishops ordained without papal approval were "extremely unreasonable and rude", state media said on Monday.
"The threats of excommunication have severely hurt the feelings of Chinese Catholics and made its members feel sad," the State Administration for Religious Affairs was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency saying.
The administration added that the threats against bishops Huang Bingzhang and Lei Shiyin were "extremely unreasonable and rude".
Huang was ordained as a bishop in the city of Shantou in the southern province of Guangdong earlier this month while Lei was ordained in the southwestern province of Sichuan in June, Xinhua said.
The Vatican has been locked in a bitter struggle with Beijing in recent months over control of the church in China. It says recent ordinations by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association were carried out without papal approval and are illegitimate.
China's 5.7 million Catholics are increasingly caught between showing allegiance to the state-controlled Catholic church or to the Pope as part of an "underground" church.
In May, the Pope called on all bishops to "refuse to take the path of separation" in spite of "pressure" from the communist authorities.
But China last month announced it would seek to ordain at least 40 bishops "without delay".