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» 08/07/2010
CHINA-VATICAN
Bishop An Shuxin, former underground bishop installed as ordinary of Baoding
by Wang Zhicheng
There is already an Ordinary (underground) of the diocese: Mgr. James Su, Zhimin, 13 years in prison. The decision to hold the ceremony made quickly by the government, who wanted Mgr. Ma Yinglin, an illegitimate bishop, to preside. Few participants: 24 priests and 300 faithful. The diocese has 120 priests and over 50 thousand faithful. Card. Bertone’s call to unity.

Baoding (AsiaNews) - Mgr Francis An Shuxin, former underground auxiliary bishop of Baoding, was installed as bishop ordinary of the official Church in the diocese of Baoding (Hebei), in a ceremony held today in the Cathedral. The underground bishop of which Mgr. An was auxiliary Mgr. James Su Zhimin, has been imprisoned in an unknown location since 1997.

The liturgy was presided by Mgr. An and officiated by two other bishops: Mgr. Liu Jing, bishop emeritus of Tangshan, and Mgr. Fang Jianping, current bishop of Tangshan. The ceremony was attended by 24 priests and 300 Catholics.

The diocese of Baoding, one of the largest and with a strong presence of underground Catholics, has at least 50 thousand Catholics. Priests, official and underground, number 120. According to AsiaNews sources, the reduced presence at the ceremony is due to the choice of Mgr. An, made a year ago, to emerge from the underground Church and join the official church, after 10 years in prison (see AsiaNews.it, 29/10/2009 In Hebei, underground bishop joins Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, 04/11 / 2009 The choice of Bishop. Shuxin, "a disaster for the diocese of Baoding" 11/11/2009 Underground bishop: I joined the Patriotic Association for the good of the Church).

Local sources told AsiaNews that the decision for the installation ceremony was made by the government almost a week ago. Bishop An was reluctant because he still considers himself the bishop coadjutor of Mgr. Su Zhimin, who has been in prison for more than 13 years. The government insisted, however, and had even decided to entrust the liturgy to Mgr. Ma Yinglin, the illegitimate bishop' of Kunming, but then accepted the presence of only two bishops from Tangshan.

Before the mass, the letter of appointment of Mgr. An by the council of Chinese bishops and by the Patriotic Association was read publicly.  These two organizations support the independence of the Church (from the Holy See) and are considered "incompatible with Catholic doctrine" by Benedict XVI.

After his appointment was read, Mgr. An received a mitre and pastoral staff. The Mass lasted about 90 minutes. Throughout the Mass, neither during prayers, nor in ohter moments, was the imprisoned Mgr. Su Zhimin mentioned.

Mgr. An’s decision to leave the underground church a year ago has created a lot of  tensions and divisions among underground Catholics. Some priests - about 15 - have decided to follow him and declare themselves official; others - nearly 100 – instead to remain in the underground Church. Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State at the time wrote a letter to all priests of Baoding asking them to remain united.  

(With the collaboration of Zhen Yuan)

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See also
09/23/2010 CHINA
Zhengding-Shijiazhuang, growing cooperation between official and underground bishops
by Zhen Yuan
03/30/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
Cardinal Zen returns to address the Church of Baoding and the case of Mgr. An Shuxin
by Card. Joseph Zen Zekiun, sdb
05/08/2010 CHINA - VATCAN
New bishop in Xiamen, approved by the Vatican. Present a bishop of Taiwan
by Zhen Yuan
06/24/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
New bishop of Sanyuan, approved by the Vatican
by Zhen Yuan
01/04/2010 CHINA
Underground Bishop of Xiwanzi dies, security tightened for funeral
by Zhen Yuan

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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