Shanghai (AsiaNews) - Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai posted an in-depth reflection on his blog on 8 October titled Lumen Fidei Enlightens us with his picture and signature. A response to Pope Francis' first encyclical Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), the text was however blocked. Although the link to the article shows that it was "encrypted", there is no access to the article on his blog. Still, the article was widely circulated, so copies on other websites do not appear to be affected.
Bishop Ma's reflection has received positive responses from readers in the Church in China, some of whom regarded it as Ma's "first pastoral letter" and even "a true bishop's letter in China for the Year of Faith".
His article also motivated readers to write their reflections on faith, calling for "perseverance" and meditations. Many reiterated the call to the authorities to free Bishop Ma.
A source in Shanghai diocese told AsiaNews that Bishop Ma's reflection was blocked and he was not allowed to write in his blog for days.
Bishop Ma's article begins with thanks the Holy Father for the encyclical, "adoring the suffering Jesus on the Cross who proclaims the salvation is accomplished with love".
"His mystery of faith - suffering, death and resurrection - invites us into His truth, eternal life and light. The witness of Apostle Thomas reminds each Christian to do reflections on our faith," it says.
The article, with more than 13,000 Chinese characters, includes an introduction and four sections: 1. Faith is the happiness God has given us; 2. In faith, we have known Him; 3. He told us: Do not be afraid; 4. Like Mary, let us follow Him steadfastly.
In the article, Bishop Ma refers to the Lumen Fidei and ask Catholics to thank God for the faith and to uphold one's faith.
Finally, Bishop Ma invokes the intercession to Mary, especially Our Lady of Sheshan.
In recent days, Bishop Ma posted short notes on weibo, a microblogging site in China, with his daily reflections. On the evening of 24 October, he wrote to wish his readers that the love and peace of Jesus Christ be with them throughout the night.
Meanwhile, seminarian Xie Huimin from Shanghai diocese was ordained deacon on 23 October and priest on 24 October by Bishop Shen Bin of Haimen (Jiangsu province), sources in Shanghai said. The ordination took place in Haimen, not Shanghai.
Father Xie, who is in his late 20s, received his priestly training in Shanghai's Sheshan Seminary.
On 12 October, the Diocese of Shanghai released a statement dated 9 October in which it announced the new ordination and asked for prayers for the new priest, but did not mention where and when the celebration would take place.
On Chinese Catholic websites, some readers posted strongly worded calls for Bishop Ma Daqin's release so that he could preside over the priestly ordination himself. One reader wondered why the ordination could not wait.
Others wondered whether it was appropriate for Bishop Shen to conduct the service since he took part in the unlawful ordination of Bishop Huang Bingzhang of Shantou in July 2011. They also want to know if he had received a papal pardon.