VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Thursday excommunicated two bishops ordained by state-controlled China church without the consent of Pope, escalating tensions as the two sides explore preliminary moves toward improving ties.
The Vatican also excommunicated the two bishops who ordained them. Church law requires excommunication for any such ordination without Vatican consent.
In a statement reacting of ordinations of this week, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls cited Article 1382 of the Catholic Church canon law. That article states that "both the bishop who, without a pontifical mandate, consecrates a person a bishop, and the one who receives the consecration from him, incur a `latae sententiae excommunication,`" which means they are automatically excommunicated.
Earlier, Navarro-Valls said Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened at the news of the ordinations.
"It is a great wound to the unity of the church," Navarro-Valls said in a statement.