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    » 01/07/2010, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    Thousands of Catholics defy snow, cold and police at the funeral of Mgr. Yao Liang

    Zhen Yuan

    The government bans use of Episcopal insignia and title of "Bishop", being a pastor of underground Church. Bishop Yao spent 30 years in prison for refusing to join the Patriotic Association, which wants to build an independent Church from the pope. No message from the Vatican.
    Xiwanzi (AsiaNews) - Some 4000 believers, under the snow and polar temperatures (- 30 °), yesterday morning attended the funeral of Mgr. Leo Yao Liang, coadjutor bishop of Xiwanzi, who died on 30 December. Bishop Yao spent 30 years in prison for not joining the Patriotic Association. From 2006 to 2009 he was again arrested by the police for the same reason.  
     
    People participated in the mass despite prohibitions and restraints by public security which for days has stopped people from outside the  county coming to town and take part in the funeral. As the bishop was an underground pastor, he was not recognized by the government, thus local authorities obliged no use of Episcopal insignia in the Church ceremony, and to refer to the deceased prelate only as "Pastor Yao" not "Bishop Yao". But at the time of burial in the cemetery of Xiwanzi, and in the days leading up to the funeral, the faithful always prayed for " Bishop Yao”. According to witnesses, during the burial one of the faithful inserted the Episcopal insignia of the bishop into the coffin.   The ordinary bishop of Xiwanzi, Mgr. Hou Jinli, 93, being very sick, could not attend the funeral. Out of about 15 priests of the diocese, only 3 were allowed to celebrate mass.
     
    A woman who attended the funeral of the bishop, told AsiaNews: "Our faithful loved Mgr. Yao for his dedication to God and the Church. He often told us that his greatest suffering during the long years of imprisonment were not the hard, physical labour, but the pain of not being able to lead his flock".   Sobbing with emotion, she says, "Bishop Yao was a really great personality. We all want to follow in his footsteps and continue his work, especially finish the construction of the church".  Months ago Mgr. Yao blessed the first stone of a church in the town of Xiwanzi and its completion was one of his greatest desires.
    To clear the path many local faithful shovelled the abundant snow fall of recent days all the way from the church to the cemetery (10 min walk), to ease the path of the coffin.  
     
    The faithful say there has been no message of condolence from the Vatican. So far, the Osservatore Romano has not published any obituary about the deceased bishop.   
    Bishop Yao was born in 1923, he was ordained a priest in 1948 and from 1958 to 1984 he was jailed for his refusal to join the official Church. The Patriotic Association is a control body of the Communist Party, which wants to build a Church independent from the Holy See. Bishop Yao was clandestinely ordained underground bishop coadjutor in 2002. He was seized by police in July 2006 and was able to return to his church January 25, 2009, after 30 months of captivity. His body was buried in the cemetery for priests in Xiwanzi.
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    See also

    21/04/2007 CHINA - VATICAN
    State funeral for Beijing’s Patriotic bishop, party “property”
    Despite the request made by the Patriotic Association, there will be no Vatican representative at the burial. Officially praised as “a great friend of the communist party”. Doubts surround the date of his death.

    12/02/2009 CHINA
    Underground bishop of Xiwanzi released after two and a half years in prison
    He had been arrested for consacrating a church without the consent of the Patriotic Association. The authorities view him only as a priest, and do not allow him to preside at large-scale activities. Two priests and 20 faithful of the diocese of Xiwanzi are still in prison. In Hebei, two bishops are still "disappeared" after many years.

    16/05/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    Patriotic Association threatens 10 episcopal ordinations without papal mandate
    This was declared by Anthony Liu Bainian, honorary president of the PA. On May 11 there was an election of Bishops in Shantou (Guangdong) with a single candidate, linked to the Communist Party to oust the bishop of the diocese, approved by the Holy See.

    08/07/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Mgr Jia Zhiguo, underground bishop, released after 15 months
    The prelate celebrated Mass last night with about a hundred faithful. He was originally arrested when the Patriotic Association tried to stop the official and underground Church from seeking unity as desired by the Holy See. Mgr Jia reassured the faithful that he did not join the Patriotic Association.

    05/01/2006 CHINA - VATICAN
    Mgr Han Dingxian, underground bishop of Hebei, is missing

    This means there are now three "desaparecidos" bishops. And the eldest priest of Yongnian diocese was arrested in December.





    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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