The Vatican spoke out Tuesday seeking to calm the latest dispute—the ordination last week of a new bishop in the northern city of Harbin who lacks the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.
It repeated earlier warnings that the cleric would incur automatic excommunication and said bishops who attended the ceremony risked other sanctions.
But it said the Holy See trusted in the "concrete willingness" of Chinese authorities to engage in dialogue and urged them not to encourage gestures contrary to that goal.
The Vatican note appeared to take a conciliatory approach in a separate case, saying the ordination of a bishop in Shanghai was "encouraging and is to be welcomed." He had received both papal and Chinese approval.
It made no mention of reports from China that the newly ordained bishop has been placed in isolation after announcing he's quitting his government posts in a challenge to Beijing's control over the Catholic clergy.