2. 此类公开声明意味着什么？ 在教会内把有关的「自科」的处罚，发表公开声明，旨在明确告知触犯这一条例的人已受到了教会《法典》所规定的惩处；并让教友们知悉犯法者在法典方面所处的位置。就目前案例而言，此声明也为激励雷神父立即向圣座表达悔意（《法典》1382）。同时，这一公开声明要求在中国的教会（即主教、司铎、修会会士和平信徒）采取果断行动抵制任何形式的非法祝圣主教。每当情况所迫——尤其当人灵的益处面临严重危害时，对圣座来说，宣布绝罚是「义不容辞的」。
3. 绝罚是否意味着被驱逐出教会？ 被绝罚者并非被逐。教会有两个幅度，一个是有形可见的，另一个是无形神妙的。就有形可见的社会意义而言，被绝罚者承担所有法律的后果（《法典》1331），受到某程度的革除，不得主动地参与公教团体的生活。而同一个被绝罚者，因着圣洗圣事仍然是教会成员——基督奥体的肢体。这就是为什么他还能投靠圣座的原因，圣座是他唯一能够求得修和的场所。
5.雷神父可以获得宽恕吗？ 可以的。 「公开声明」正是为此目的而发表的。雷神父应立即向圣座请求宽恕。然后，他要严格执行圣座的指示。以后，圣父将根据其真实的悔改，取消对他的绝罚。在此之前，他仍是被绝罚的。
6. 一旦雷神父的绝罚被取消，他是否可以自动地履行主教的职务呢？ 绝不可以。取消绝罚是一回事；而委以主教职务又是另一回事。两者绝对不相混淆。圣座一直说明基于一些十分严重的理由，不可把主教职务委托给雷神父。换言之，尽管他的绝罚可被取消，但他始终不能象主教一般行事，不可配戴任何主教标志、服饰，不可有主教的称谓。
8. 他们可以继续照常奉行牧职吗？ 不可以。直到他们「被推定的罪责」尚未取消之前，他们不可照常奉行主教的职务。
10. 如果参加祝圣的主教在良心上认为他自己没有受到绝罚又会怎么样呢？ 「良心」是神圣的场所，在这里，有关的主教们要对天主诚实。无论如何，其他人不能看到他的良心。直到「被推定的罪责」被取消以前，有关的主教应回避公开履行牧职。同时，他仍有责任向圣座请求宽恕。
11, 神职人员和教友应避免领受他们所施行的圣事吗？ 对！他们应该避免。这并不是因为神职人员和教友们可以评断有关主教的良心，而是因为他们的「被推定的罪责」尚未取消。
12. 一位祝圣者主教的「被推定的罪责」尚未取消， 那么神职人员和教友们还能做什么呢？ 首先，他们应该坚定信仰、坚持维护团体的合一。他们的主教既然尚有「被推定的罪责」，那么有关此情况，便要尽量鼓励神职人员和教友为他祈祷；必要时，以教会的训导，晓以大义。非法祝圣主教不仅严重违反纪律，或者使教义模糊起来，而且更为严重的是深深地伤害了教会共融。 祈祷是至为重要的，使我们的牧者们能够常常得到主的坚定和陪伴。事实上，在中国受人景仰的主教大有人在。圣父（教宗）说：「我们应为这些坚贞而备受磨难的主教的存在感谢天主。他们按天主教的传统接受了主教祝圣礼，就是说，在与伯多禄的继承人、罗马的主教的共融中、遵循了天主教的礼规、借主教们的手既合法又有效地获得祝圣”（《教宗本笃十六世致在中华人民共和国的天主教会的主教、司铎、度奉献生活者及教友的信》，8）。
Some Questions regarding the event of Leshan, China
- This is a response from the CEP to questions raised by the faithful in China regarding the Declaration of the Holy See (04.07.2011) on the illegitimate episcopal ordination of Leshan (29.06.2011).
- The response given here is of merely pastoral concern.
- Some experts of Canon Law have been consulted in articulating the answer.
Regarding Fr. Paul Lei Shiyin
1. Is Father Paul Lei Shiyin now in the state of latae sententiae excommunication?
Yes! By the very act of receiving episcopal ordination without the pontifical mandate, Fr. Lei has already incurred the latae sententiae excommunication (See Can. 1382) which is further “declared” publicly by the Holy See. Excommunication is a very severe form of penalty in the Church that excludes the excommunicated person from the visible communion of the faithful.
2. What does it mean by a public declaration of this kind?
A public declaration of a latae sententiae penalty in the Church is intended to make it clear to the offender that he has incurred the prescribed canonical sanction, and to make known to the faithful the canonical situation of the offender. In the present case, it is also meant to summon Fr. Lei to repent at once by approaching the Holy See (Can. 1382). At the same time, this public declaration urges vigorous action to be taken by the Church in China (namely Bishops, Priests, Religious, and Laity) to resist any form of illegitimate episcopal ordination. A declared excommunication is a “must” for the Holy See, if circumstances should at any time oblige and, above all, when the good of the souls is seriously at stake.
3. Does excommunication mean being expelled from the Church?
No. The Church has both visible social and invisible mystical dimensions. The excommunicated person to a certain extent is excluded from active participation in Catholic community life in a visible social sense with all its juridical effects (Can. 1331). The same person by virtue of the baptism still remains a member of the Church ---- the mystical body of Christ. That is why he can still approach the Holy See which is the only place he can go for reconciliation.
4. What are the juridical effects of Can. 1331?
The excommunicated person is forbidden to celebrate the Holy Mass, to administer/receive sacraments, or to hold any ecclesial office. He, though ordained bishop, has no power to govern the diocese . Thus, priests and faithful (except for grave cause, e.g., in point of death) should not only avoid receiving sacraments from him, but also keep him away from celebrating all forms of liturgy or Ecclesial ceremony, and to suspend the liturgy or ceremony, in case he does not observe the prohibition. In short, such penalty deprives the excommunicated person from some spiritual good, so that through this “medicinal” penalty he may soon come to real repentance.
5. Can Fr. Lei be forgiven?
Yes. The “public declaration” is meant precisely for that. Fr. Lei has to immediately approach the Holy See for forgiveness. Then, he has to implement meticulously the instruction given to him by the Holy See. Afterwards, the Holy Father, based on his true repentance, removes his excommunication. Until then, he will remain excommunicated.
6. Once his excommunication is removed, can Fr. Lei automatically exercise the episcopal ministry?
No, he cannot. The removal of excommunication is one thing; and the episcopal appointment is another. These two things are distinct. The Holy See has so far expressed that for some serious reasons Fr. Lei cannot be appointed bishop. In other words, even if his excommunication is removed, he is not entitled to acting like a bishop, wearing a bishop’s insignia, and being addressed as bishop.
Regarding the Consecrating Bishops
7. What is the current status of the seven consecrating bishops?
They have exposed themselves to the grave canonical sanctions laid down by the law of the Church (Declaration 04.07.2011). This means that “when an external violation has occurred, imputability is presumed unless it is otherwise apparent” (Can 1321, §3). The “presumed imputability” means that there is a sufficient reason to ascertain that these bishops actually committed a grave act of indiscipline through the illegitimate episcopal ordination and, thus, are presumed to have incurred the excommunication, unless the contrary is proved.
8. Can they continue their normal episcopal ministry?
No, they may not do so, as long as their “presumed imputability” is not removed.
9. What should they do?
First and foremost, it is their duty to immediately approach the Holy See for forgiveness and to explain reasons for which they have participated in the illegitimate episcopal ordination and wait for the reply from the Holy See.
10. What, if a consecrating bishop in his conscience holds that he has not incurred the excommunication?
“Conscience” is a sacred place where the bishop in question has to stay honest to God. However, other people cannot see through his conscience. As long as the “presumed imputability” is not removed, the bishop in question has to abstain from all public ministries. In the meantime, he remains obliged to approach the Holy See.
11. Should their priests and faithful avoid receiving sacraments administered by them?
Yes, they should, not because the priests and faithful are in a position to judge the conscience of the bishop in question, but because the “presumed imputability” is not yet removed.
12. What else can the priests and faithful do when the “presumed imputability” of a consecrating bishop is not yet removed?
First of all, they should remain firm in their faith and keep safeguarding the unity of the community. As to their bishop with “presumed imputability”, the priests and faithful are very much encouraged to pray for him and to remind him, when needed, of the teaching of the Church. Illegitimate episcopal ordination does not only violate seriously the discipline or obfuscate the doctrine, but above all profoundly wounds the communion of the Church.
Prayer is of utmost importance that our pastors be always strengthened and accompanied by the Lord. In fact, in China there are admirable bishops. “We must thank the Lord”, said the Holy Father, “for this constant presence, not without suffering, of Bishops who have received episcopal ordination in conformity with Catholic tradition, that is to say, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, and at the hands of validly and legitimately ordained Bishops in observance of the rite of the Catholic Church.” (n.8 Letter of Benedict XVI to the Church in China).
* by Fides News Service