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  • » 04/13/2017, 10.09

    CHINA - VATICAN

    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

    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.



    26/06/2017 14:11:00 VATICAN – CHINA
    Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

    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.”



    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.


     





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