Pope Benedict XVI was rejected by Beijing authorities to allow four clergymen to travel to Rome for the Synod on Oct 2-23.
The four Chinese clergymen were—Anthony Li Duan of Xian, Luke Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang, Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, and Jospeh Wei Jingyi from Qiqihar.
A spokesman on behalf of China's official Catholic church, the Chinese Catholic Bishops College (CCBC) and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) stated their disappointment by saying late Saturday that the invitation "shows no respect" to Chinese Catholics and their decision making bodies, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Even though, the two Chinese Catholic groups, CCBC and CPCA, welcomed the invitation from the Pope, the spokesman said that because of the advanced age and the poor health of some of the bishops, and Vatican's official ties with Taiwan, they were unable to attend.
Beijing ordered Catholics to sever all ties with the Vatican in 1951 as the Communist Party took control of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
While currently, the Vatican's relationship with Taiwan has also caused much disapproval from the Chinese government to allow the Chinese Catholic churches to recognize the Vatican. However, the Pontiff has said since April that he will continue to establish a relationship with China.
Bishop Joseph Zen told AFP (Agence France-Presse) on Friday that the invitation "obviously shows that the pope really cares about China and that Chinese churches have an important standing in the world."