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  • » 04/13/2017, 10.09


    Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (underground) seized by police

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Public security will not reveal where he was taken, but allow the faithful to deliver some clothes for their pastor. The bishop will celebrate Easter with his faithful. Pressures on the prelate to adhere to the Patriotic Association. A similar fate to that of Msgr. Guo Xijin. It is also pressure on the Holy See.

    Rome (AsiaNews) - The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin was seized by police and taken to an unknown location. The incident occurred yesterday afternoon. Public security agents, however, have allowed the faithful to bring them some clothes to hand them over to the prelate, a sign that his kidnapping will be long term.

    Msgr. Shao is a bishop of the underground Church, recognized by the Holy See as an ordinary bishop of the diocese, after the death of his predecessor, Msgr. Vincenzo Zhu Weifang, on 7 September.

    The kidnapping of Msgr. Shao came just hours before the start of the Easter Triduum. One priest believes the bishop's  detention is precisely to prevent him presiding at Easter rites given that he is not recognized by the government. Also, sources in Wenzhou diocese said, "Security officials wanted to prevent Bishop  Shao from contacting the open Church community in Wenzhou and exercising his episcopal authority over there, such as the blessing of oils.”

    The fact closely resembles what has happened in recent days to another bishop, Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin, also a member of the underground church, but recognized by the Holy See as an ordinary bishop of Mindong (Fujian).

    It is very likely that these enforced disappearances aim to blackmail the two prelates to convince them to join the Patriotic Association (PA), the Party body which wants to establish an independent Church.

    In talks between China and the Holy See on an agreement on the appointment of bishops, the CCPA continues to demand that all bishops are members of the PA, thus excluding underground bishops, who reject registration and whom the PA regards as "unreliable."

    The situations of Wenzhou and Mindong represent a dangerous exception, that the Ministry of Religious Affairs wants to stamp out.

    According to some experts, their abduction and the forced education of the two prelates to "study and learn" is undue pressure on the Vatican to give its endorsement of the conditions  imposed by Beijing, in short that only bishops appointed independently and enrolled in the PA can exercise the ministry.

    It is a very similar situation to that of of Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, bishop of Shanghai, placed under house arrest from the day of his ordination because he had resigned from the PA. Later, Msgr.  Ma seems to have retracted his positions, expressing appreciation for the PA, but he continues to be kept in isolation.

    Msgr. Pietro Shao Zhumin, 54, has been bishop since 2007. The diocese of Wenzhou has a history of strong division between the official and underground Christian communities.

    It is estimated that there are about 50 thousand faithful in the Official communities and more than 80 thousand in the unofficial; there are more than 50 priests in the whole diocese.

    In recent years, the Holy See sought to reconcile the communities by appointing Msgr. Zhu as ordinary bishop and Msgr. Shao as a bishop with right of succession. But, according to the faithful, who also love and respect Msgr. Shao, "the local government does everything to keep us divided." Msgr. Shao often suffered imprisonment because of his faith. Even at the funeral of his predecessor, he was seized and unable to attend the funeral.

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    See also

    24/05/2017 13:14:00 CHINA- VATICAN
    Day of Prayer for China: Msgr. Peter Shao still in the hands of the police. Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan

    The Bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang) had been kidnapped even before Easter. Pilgrimages continue to Sheshan: at least 80 groups - about 17,000 people - have arrived so far. Penance, prayer and recitation of the Rosary for the Church in China. Readings of Benedict XVI’s Letter  to Chinese Catholics.

    29/08/2016 13:04:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    Rethinking China-Vatican accords (with a touch of irony)

    There are various discrepancies in discussions on relations between China and the Holy See. Despite the fact that there is still no public agreement, many commentators hotly discuss it as if it were common gossip. Even the bishops are often reduced to mere puppets; the lack of mutual trust between the two parties; the Taiwan issue: these are some of the problems outlined by the informed author, who calls himself "the hermit priest of the North" and is a very famous priest-blogger in China.

    16/04/2017 12:10:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    A victory for the Patriotic Association: Illicit Bishop Zhan Silu concelebrates with Bishop Ma Daqin of Shanghai

    Zhan Silu was ordained in 2000. Ma Daqin, still under house arrest, but could "visit the Diocese of Mindong," where the ordinary bishop, Msgr. Guo Xijin, has disappeared in police custody. In the ceremony, Ma Daqin was called "bishop" and not "father" as before. The Patriotic Association undisputed master of the Church in China. "The Vatican is a joke".  The PA attempts to destroy dialogue between the Holy See and the government.

    13/09/2016 12:52:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    More than 5,000 faithful attend the funeral of the bishop of Wenzhou. Mgr Peter Shao is still "on vacation" with the police (Photos)

    Even three abducted priests have not reappeared. Underground priests were not allowed to attend the funeral. Mgr Shao, appointed by the Holy See, is welcome by the official community, but no one knows whether the government will give its approval.

    10/11/2016 09:12:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    The "tranquil" ordination of Msgr. Peter Ding Lingbin, bishop of Changzhi

    The ordination was attended by about 2 thousand people; many non-Christians looked on from the street. Security was discreet. Rules imposed on the eve very strict. All of the ordaining bishops are in communion with the Pope. The Holy See mandate read in private; that of the council of Chinese bishops read in public.


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