08/22/2012, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN

Diocese of Shanghai under siege after Ma Daqin’s "big blow"

Bernardo Cervellera
The seminaries will be closed until further notice, a nun was forced to step down as superior general. Seminarians and nuns "did not cooperate" with the government for the ordination of July 7, when Ma Daqin decided he was quitting the Patriotic Association. Catholics resistance to and criticism of official Church body on the rise. A bishop tells AsiaNews: "The government has lost control of the masses and the confidence of the people."

Rome (AsiaNews) - Shanghai's regional and minor seminary will not reopen - as planned - at the beginning of September until further notice, a nun was forced to resign as superior general of her order: these are some of the "revenge" moves by the Patriotic Association to express its anger at Msgr. Ma Taddeo Daqin's decision to leave the control of the official Catholic Church and against those who "have helped him."

On 7 July Msgr. Ma was ordained auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, with the approval of the Holy See. During the ceremony, he avoided the embrace and communion with Zhan Silu, the illicit bishop who was there, and announced he would henceforth devote himself fully to his pastoral mission and consequently quit the Patriotic Association (PA), an organization which, according to Benedict XVI is "incompatible with Catholic doctrine" and pursues a policy of "independence" from the Holy See.

Immediately after his ordination, brave Msgr. Ma (see photo) was placed under house arrest in Sheshan Regional Seminary and forbidden to wear any Episcopal insignia (pectoral cross, ring, beretta, etc. ..). In addition, an investigation was opened into his behavior in violating the Party's "rules" of ordination.

Now the Bishop of Shanghai, Msgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian has issued a short note warning that the seminaries will not open in early September "until further notice" and this is due to the "present situation".

A few days earlier, another note had warned that Sister Agnes Liu Shujing was being removed from the office of superior general of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Presentation. The Mother, who was preparing a weekly course with all 86 nuns of her order, had to cancel this commitment.

According to UCAN news agency, "there is no official reason for her resignation," but we know that Sr. Agnes "did not cooperate" with the government in the preparation for the 7 July ordination. She had in fact delayed in passing on the PA's order that all sisters had to attend the ordination ceremony, although there was an illicit bishop, to the sisters of her order.

Sources have passed on the details to AsiaNews: nuns and seminarians, in fact, attended the ceremony, but with a very precise task to fulfill: prevent illicit bishops from entering the church and taking part in the ceremony. This is why together they formed a "human barrier" between the bishops in communion with the Pope, although Zhan Silu was then able to infiltrate the same.

The PA is concerned that the example of Msgr. Ma Daqin, the seminarians and nuns will spread to all the other dioceses and for this very reason has closed down all of the seminaries and removed Sr. Agnes.

But in all likelihood these moves will boomerang and create even more resistance in the Church. Already a priest, quoted by UCAN, points out that the major seminary of Sheshan not only serves Shanghai, but also Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Jiangxi, which he says "should not be involved in this episode ". The leaders of the churches in these provinces have planned to criticize the choice of government authorities in Shanghai.

Another priest, contacted by AsiaNews defends choice of Msgr. Ma: "The PA is not the government and therefore one can freely join and leave this association. Msgr. Ma did not do anything illegal in his resignation from the PA."

Even bishops who so far have been very obedient to the PA are backtracking. At least two official bishops, requisitioned by the Party to participate in the illicit ordination of Harbin, refused and found a way not to go.

One bishop has confided to AsiaNews: "What is happening in Chinese society is also happening in the Catholic Church: the government has lost control of the masses and the people's trust. The faithful no longer pay any attention to the PA, it no longer counts".  

 

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