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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
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

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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