Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The revocation of the title of Bishop of Shanghai for Msgr. Ma Taddeo Daqin is "sad" news but the gesture by the "so-called Bishops' Conference of China" is an "abuse of power" and an abuse of authority.
So says Msgr. Savio Hon Tai-fai, the Chinese Archbishop a native of Hong Kong, who is secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, commenting on the news, confirmed today, that the Council of Chinese Bishops and the Patriotic Association have dismissed Msgr. Ma Taddeo Daqin as coadjutor bishop of Shanghai, revoking his Episcopal offices.
"This so-called 'Bishops' Conference has never been recognized by the Holy See. No conference in the world has the power to appoint or remove a bishop, least of all this 'so-called' Conference, which is not recognized by the pope. This is a clear case of abuse of authority. Anyone involved in this act will have to explain why they have decided to cause such harm to the Church and the communion of the Church, both in China and in the world. "
According to the Patriotic Association Mgr. Ma violated their rules, the day of his episcopal ordination on July 7 last, Msgr. Ma refused the laying on of hands by excommunicated bishops or share Holy Communion with them.
"Bishop Ma - affirms Msgr. Savio Hon - did this in obedience to the Pope, but from the Patriotic Association's point of view that is a crime. He also decided to leave the Patriotic Association to better respond to his pastoral ministry. The PA's principles are 'incompatible with Catholic doctrine', as Benedict XVI says in his Letter to Chinese Catholics. "
"No-one, from the bishops to the last baptized should do anything against our faith. Unfortunately, the so-called Bishops' Conference and the Patriotic Association wound the unity and communion of the Church in China and in the world"
"The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples fully supports Msgr. Ma, as has already been clearly stated by Card. Filoni. Indeed we have great respect for this young bishop who has dared to make a great gesture of truth, of love for the Holy Father. I know him personally, since he was a seminarian and I always pray for him, so that he may be sustained by the grace of the Lord in this difficult time. "
"Travelling around the world, in many dioceses - adds Msgr. Hon - I attend Sunday Mass and celebrations in support of the persecuted bishops and in particular in support of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who are suffering from the lack of freedom.
Their and my prayers are added to those all the Christians in China who are praying for him. I call on all communities around the world to pray for Ma Daqin: we turn to the Lord so that Msgr. Ma- and the many other bishops and priests in prison such as Msgr. James Su Zhimin and Cosma Shi Enxiang - can see days of freedom. "
"This violence and abuse against religious freedom only generates criticism of China from the international community. Our country, which has made such great strides in the modern world does not deserve to be demeaned in this way because of this style."
One last thought, Msgr. Hon turns to new leadership that has emerged from the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress, with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang: "We pray for the political leaders of China. During Advent we await Jesus Christ, who brought peace and justice to the world. I pray and hope that the new leadership in China, lead to a new vision of politics in the relationship between church and state, without using the traditional methods of the past, which are no good to anyone, do not create harmony within the Chinese Church or society, or in international relations".