19 October 2017
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  • » 06/26/2017, 14.11

    VATICAN – CHINA

    Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), who belongs to the underground community, is said to be undergoing brainwashing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Since China and the Holy See resumed talks three years ago, this is the first time that the Holy See Press Office speaks about a detained bishop. The faithful have felt too much pain over the Vatican’s extended silence. Germany’s ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, has talked about the case. The Vatican’s press office calls on the faithful to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and “the path of the Catholic Church in China.”

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Holy See is observing with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago,” said Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office in a press release today, a month after police seized the prelate.

    Mgr Shao was taken away by police officers and members of the Religious Affairs Bureau in Zhejiang Province on the evening of 18 May after he was summoned to appear. The prelate’s 90-year-old mother has called for his release. In Wenzhou, the faithful have launched a chain of prayers.

    "The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held," read the Holy See press release. The bishop was seen at Wenzhou Airport on 16 June, only to disappear in the hands of public security officials.

    As for why he is missing, some Catholic believe that he is being subjected to “religious seminars" (i.e. brainwashing) in order to force him to joint the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), which the Vatican considers "incompatible with Catholic doctrine. "

    Bishop Shao belongs to the unofficial community and is therefore not a member of the CPCA. As such, he is not recognised by the government. Still, he became the ordinary bishop of Wenzhou after the death of his predecessor, Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang.

    In its press release, the Holy See Press Office went on to say that "the Holy See, profoundly saddened for this and other similar episodes that unfortunately do not facilitate ways of understanding, expresses the hope that Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry. We are all invited to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and for the path of the Catholic Church in China.”

    Since the Vatican and China began informal talks three years ago, this is the first time the Holy See has spoken about an imprisoned bishop. Many Chinese Catholics have expressed pain for the Vatican’s extended silence on persecuted bishops, priests and laity.

    Recently, even the German ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, issued an official statement calling for Mgr Peter Shao Zhumin’s release.

    Mgr Guo Xijin, bishop of Mindong (Fujian), a member of the underground community but recognised as a bishop by the Holy See, was also taken by the police but has been recently allowed to return to his diocese.

    By contrast, the situation of Mgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin, bishop of Shanghai, has not changed and he remains in isolation under house arrest.

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    See also

    30/09/2006 CHINA
    Two clandestine priests arrested in Guangdong

    Fr Shao Zhoumin and Fr Jiang Sunian, who had just returned from Europe, have already spent time in prison. AsiaNews sources in China said the release of the bishop of Zhengding, Mgr Jia, was decided "for fear of popular protests" and they warned that "he could be arrested again".



    26/06/2017 14:24:00 CHINA-VATICAN
    The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin

    The silence on the persecution of Chinese Catholics and their bishops in Wenzhou and Shanghai. The organisms that Benedict XVI did not accept (Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops' Conference) because "incompatible with Catholic doctrine" now govern the Church. Dialogue between China and the Vatican must address the issue of underground bishops out in the open and not under the shroud of secrecy. An analysis from a northeast Chinese Catholic, as the Vatican celebrates a new round of China-Holy See talks.



    19/06/2017 16:27:00 CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Peter Shao Zhumin, Wenzhou’s bishop not recognised by the government, is missing again

    The bishop apparently arrived at Wenzhou airport, but did not go home.  Government officials took him to an unknown place. His priests did not see him at home. According to the latest figures, Wenzhou Catholics number 130,000.



    21/06/2017 12:05:00 CHINA-GERMANY
    The German ambassador asks China to release Msgr. Shao Zhumin

    In an official statement posted on the embassy site, Michael Clauss asks that the detained bishop of Wenzhou, be given full freedom of movement. Concerns also expressed over drafts of the new regulations on religious activities, which decree the end of the underground communities. It is the first time after a decade that a European ambassador has called for the release of a bishop.


     



    17/06/2017 13:37:00 CHINA – VATICAN
    Wenzhou: Mgr Shao back in Wenzhou under police escort

    The bishop is recognised by the Holy See but not by the government. He was held for 27 days during which he attended a “religious seminar" to convince him to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and force the Vatican to appoint right away a coadjutor bishop from the official community.





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