The following comes from the Zenit.org site:
Benedict XVI today asked for all Catholics around the world to pray for the Church in China, which he said is going through moments of particular difficulty.
The Pope made this appeal at the end of the general audience held in Paul VI Hall.
He thus alluded to the situation created by the illicit episcopal ordination of Father Joseph Guo Jincai, held in China on Nov. 20.
"I entrust to your prayer and to that of Catholics worldwide the Church in China that, as you know, is going through particularly difficult moments," the Holy Father said. "We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, to support all the Chinese bishops, so dear to me, so that they will give witness to their faith with courage, placing every hope in the Savior we await.
"Moreover, we entrust to the Virgin all the Catholics of that beloved country so that, with her intercession, they will be able to live an authentic Christian existence in communion with the universal Church, thus contributing also to the harmony and common good of their noble people."
Among the thousands of faithful gathered for the audience, there was a group of Chinese Catholics, who were enthusiastically welcomed by the crowd.
A Vatican communiqué a week ago affirmed that the Pope received the news of the ceremony "with deep regret, because the above-mentioned episcopal ordination was conferred without the apostolic mandate and, therefore, constitutes a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline."
The Holy See was looking into the forced participation of prelates in the ceremony. Vatican opposition to the ordination of Father Jincai was expressed to Chinese authorities various times throughout the last year.
The communiqué noted the "serious canonical condition" that Reverend Jincai placed himself in, since Canon Law stipulates that in an episcopal ordination without pontifical mandate, both the one ordaining and the one ordained "incur a 'latae sententiae' excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See."
It expressed "regret that the authorities allow the leadership of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, under the influence of Mr. Liu Bainian, to adopt attitudes that gravely damage the Catholic Church." Reverend Jincai is the vice secretary-general of the Catholic Patriotic Association.
The Chinese government currently permits religious practice only with recognized personnel and in places registered with the Religious Affairs Office and under the control of the Patriotic Association.