Reason I ask is because I attended Mass in China and received Communion during the mid 90s while on a short business trip. I’m not completely sure if the Chinese Catholic Church is in communion with Rome then or even now. I believe that the Chinese govt has some restrictions in place with regard to the catholic church there. Any insight would be appreciated.
The status of that “church” has not changed since then–it was not in communion with the Catholic Church. But, I think the odds are very high that the priest who celebrated that Mass was able to do so validly. As Pope Benedict said in his letter to the Chinese Catholics:
Finally, there are certain Bishops – a very small number of them – who have been ordained without the Pontifical mandate and who have not asked for or have not yet obtained, the necessary legitimation. According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, they are to be considered illegitimate, but validly ordained, as long as it is certain that they have received ordination from validly ordained Bishops and that the Catholic rite of episcopal ordination has been respected. Therefore, although not in communion with the Pope, they exercise their ministry validly in the administration of the sacraments, even if they do so illegitimately.
This is in reference to illicitly ordained bishops but since they can validly ordain priests, then those priests are able to validly celebrate Mass.
Also, when I was in China, I went to an above-ground church and a European priest celebrated the Mass, in English. I suppose you had a Chinese priest but there are also foreign priests over there, too. Anyway, I have no reason to think that he was not validly ordained. But, I didn’t receive Communion. That was my personal choice.
China has two Catholic Churches, a government sponsored one and the real one in full union with Rome, which is sometimes underground. There is some overlap between the two. It is generally believed that even the government approved bishops are validly ordained.
Articles on Catholicism in China:
It was probably a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association church, and no, it is not in communion with the Holy See.
However, it does have valid Apostolic Succession.
Communion with Rome or not, valid priest=valid Mass.
Valid bishop=validly able to ordain priests.
That is correct. I have a brother who is on a three year assignment to China. The Archdiocese he is in has an Archbishop that is recognized by both Beijing and Rome. So the Masses said in that diocese are both valid and licit. Add to that, the priest who does the English language Mass at the Cathedral is from Wales. It is pretty common to have a foreign priest when Masses are said in a language other than Chinese, but that is only really possible in the really large cities.
It is generally believed that even the government approved bishops are validly ordained.
That is known to be a fact, as the bishops that have entered into Communion are not re-consecrated, even conditionally.
If not in communion with the Pope, I dont understand how the Chinese “patriotic” can have a valid Mass and Eucharist.
I attended one such Mass in Beijing. Wondering still if I should have received the Eucharist there.
Again, just because one is not in communion with the Holy Father doesn’t mean that valid sacraments do not exist. Just look at the Orthodox.
Holy Orders confers an indellible mark upon the soul. A bishop who separates from Rome is still a bishop, and is still validly able to confer Holy Orders upon other men. A schismatic priest/bishop’s Mass is still valid.