Shanghai (AsiaNews) - The religious funeral of Msgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian were held this morning at 8 (local time). The official bishop of Shanghai died on April 27 after a long illness. The ceremony was held in the Cathedral of St. Ignatius, in the district of Xujiahui and was presided over by Fr. Wu Jianlin.
The funeral mass was attended by over 1,000 faithful - despite it being a working day - and more than 60 priests. At the end of the ceremony all the faithful lined up to bless the body of the deceased bishop one by one. Bishop Jin was much loved by the faithful. "While never being in direct opposition with the government - said one of them - he did much to help the Church grow in Shanghai and in China."
In fact, thanks to him in the community of the metropolis built with churches, spiritual centers, publishing houses, international relations. Bishop Jin, ordained a "patriotic" bishop without papal mandate in 1985, reconciled with the pope after 20 years, re-establishing full communion with the Holy See.
The problem now is that of his successor, which was also evident at his funeral. In fact, the ceremony should have been presided by Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained successor Jin on July 7. Immediately after his ordination, the young 44 year old bishop decided to quit the Patriotic Association - the Part organism that controls the Church - and as a result was put under house arrest and isolation in Sheshan Seminary. The council of Chinese bishops - a body not recognized by the Holy See - also stripped him of the title of Bishop of Shanghai. To keep him away from the funeral and the faithful, Msgr. Ma was recently removed. According to some rumors he is in Beijing, forced to participate in "courses of study." Other rumors say that Msgr. Ma was removed from Sheshan with the approach of the month of May, and the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan (the 24th of the month), a period in which tens of thousands of faithful come on pilgrimage to the shrine, near the place where the bishop is held in solitary confinement.
On the subject of succession in Shanghai, Msgr. Savio Hon, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a friend of Msgr. Jin Luxian, said Msgr. Ma Daqin had been ordered as auxiliary bishop, accepted by the government as' coadjutor bishop of Shanghai '. "Subsequently, the so-called' conference of the bishops' stripped him of his title, but the Holy See has stated that no bishops' conference, anywhere in the world, has the power to override a pontifical mandate. Especially in this case, in which the 'conference' is not recognized. Thus for us the fact remains that Msgr. Ma Daqin is the bishop of Shanghai. "
Today's funeral is the religious ceremony. Another civil funeral will be held on May 2, with the participation of government authorities and the general public.