03/27/2018, 09.18
CHINA-VATICAN
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Mindong, Msgr. Guo Xijin kidnapped by the police before Easter

by John Baptist Lin

The chancellor of the diocese was also taken with him. Msgr. Guo was asked to step aside as ordinary and accept the role of auxiliary bishop to make way for Msgr. Zhan Silu, an illegitimate and excommunicated bishop.

Mindong (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Vincent Guo Xijin, bishop of Mindong (Fujian), was kidnapped last night by police. The Chancellor of the Diocese, Fr. Xu, was also led away.

Msgr. Guo, 59, is the ordinary bishop of the diocese, recognized by the Vatican, but not by the government. In recent months he had been approached by Vatican diplomat Abp. Claudio Maria Celli, who had asked him to step aside and leave the seat of the diocese to excommunicated bishop Msgr. Vincent Zhan Silu, who is recognized by the government.

In return, Msgr. Guo would be given the title of auxiliary bishop. The demotion of Msgr. Guo, as well as the resignation of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou, were hailed as the sign of a "historic" agreement between the Chinese government and the Vatican.

Yesterday at 3pm local time, Msgr. Guo was called to the Office for Religious Affairs where he met with officials for at least two hours. The content of their meeting is not known. At 7 pm he returned to the bishop’s residence and prepared his luggage as if leaving. At 10 pm he was taken away.

He had already disappeared in police custody last year, just before the Easter holidays, only to reappear 20 days later.

According to some faithful, the bishop was kidnapped after refusing to concelebrate during these Easter holidays with illegitimate bishop Zhan Silu.

Zhan Silu is one of seven illegitimate and excommunicated bishops awaiting reconciliation with the Pope, a reconciliation that has either yet to take place, or perhaps to be made public.

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