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    » 04/08/2010, 00.00

    CHINA – VATICAN

    Bishop placed under house arrest for refusing to co-celebrate Mass with excommunicated bishop

    Wang Zhicheng

    The bishop was officially installed today, but refused to co-celebrate Mass with Ma Yinglin, who was ordained in 2006 without the permission of the Holy See. Forced to attend the ceremony, the bishop was still able to say publicly that he was taking part in the ceremony against his will.
    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Mgr Matthias Du Jiang, bishop of Bameng, is under house arrest, local sources told AsiaNews. Today he was officially installed in his office. Sources said that he was placed under house arrest because of his refusal to co-celebrate Mass during his installation ceremony with a bishop who was excommunicated in 2006 because he was ordained without Holy See approval.

    Mgr Du has been bishop of Bameng (Inner Mongolia) for the past six years. He was ordained in secret, with Vatican approval, and without permission by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), an agency that is trying to set up a national Catholic Church, separate from Rome.

    Mgr Du, 47, has not been able to speak in public as bishop until now, nor was not able to wear his Episcopal biretta and pectoral cross in public.

    Today’s ceremony in Sanshenggong Cathedral was designed to show that he was being recognised by the government as well. However, the CCPA demanded that Mgr Joseph Ma Yinglin, unlawfully consecrated on 30 April 2006, be part of the service. A latae sententiae excommunication hangs over the latter.

    Recently, the Vatican Commission on the Catholic Church in China issued a statement, calling on bishops to avoid acts (for example, sacramental celebrations, Episcopal ordinations or meetings) that contradict their communion with the Pope. For this reason, Bishop Du refused to take part in the service in the presence of Ma Yinglin.

    During the ceremony, he publicly said that he was forced to take part in the Mass with Ma Yinglin. Now, he is under house arrest.

    For the past few days, security forces have been out in force policing the city. Internet and telephones have also been placed under surveillance.

    “Mgr Du’s courage is inspiring. Let us hope that other bishops follow his example,” a number of Chinese Christians told AsiaNews. However, “There are rumours that more ordinations are on the way and that Ma Yinglin wants to preside over all of them”.

    For the past two years, the CCPA has tried to convince official bishops to accept Ma Yinglin as CCPA president.

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    See also

    31/03/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
    Police arrest underground Zhengding bishop Jia Zhiguo
    He was taken from his home by 5 police officers. For weeks, he had been under surveillance 24 hours a day, to prevent him from meeting with the official bishop, with whom he had reconciled on instructions from the Vatican. A blow to the Holy See's strategy of unifying the Chinese Church, while the meeting of the Plenary Commission on the Church in China continues at the Vatican. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was also taunted by the police.

    12/04/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Priests and bishop of Bameng forced to concelebrate with excommunicated bishop
    More details emerge on the installation ceremony of Bishop. Du, under pressure from the religious authorities and the Patriotic Association. The ceremony on 8 April was all under government control. Fears of priests for possible difficulties for faithful and the underground community.

    20/05/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    New bishop of Yanzhou ordained with Holy See approval
    Bishop John Lu Peisen is the second legitimate pastor ordained since the beginning of the year. Two days ago the Pope's call to pray for the bishops who "suffer and are under pressure in exercising their episcopal ministry." Bishop Lu was a long time teacher at the seminary in Jinan.

    24/03/2010 CHINA – VATICAN
    Another underground priest arrested in Fujian
    He organised a camp for 300 university students. He was charged along with other priests, one of whom was held for 15 days and then released. Two more are waiting for their arrest. Tens of priests are currently detained in prisons or forced labour camps. Three bishops are still in police custody years after they disappeared. The Vatican Commission on the Church in China ends its plenary session today.

    04/11/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
    The choice of Msgr. An Shuxin, "a disaster for the diocese of Baoding"
    Mgr. An confirms that he has joined the Patriotic Association "for the good of the Church." Underground priests and experts from the China-Vatican dialogue concerned about the situation of tension and confusion in the diocese. But also puzzled by choices of the Vatican.



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