Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The honorary chairman of the Patriotic Association, Anthony Liu Bainian has demanded that the Vatican “not interfere with the self-election and self-ordination” of bishops, [ie without papal mandate-ed] and recognize and support the elected bishops in their work of evangelization. " Liu Bainian, nicknamed "the Pope of China" as a result of his claiming to lead the entire Chinese Church, said there are still at least 10 candidates for the episcopate who will soon be elected according to the method of " self-election and self-ordination”, a method he says is "wanted by the Church in China."
Liu Bainian’s declarations were published by Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong newspaper close to the Chinese Communist Party May 14 last.
Experts consider the strong worded statement a challenge and a threat against the Vatican of imminent Episcopal ordinations without papal mandate, after the last one that occurred in November in Chengde (see 11/20/2010 Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination ).
Liu Bainian's words have rung true for some time now. Just days before, on May 11, with the a bishop was elected in Shantou by priests, nuns and lay people, under threats and pressures against the will of the Holy See.
The Electoral Committee consisting of 15 priests, five nuns, 50 seminarians and two lay people voted by a large majority, for the only candidate, Fr Joseph Huang Bingzhang. This "self election" has severe flaws:
1) First it took place by compulsion. Priests and lay people have confessed to have been taken from their homes and "accompanied" by police. Moreover, many PA members and police were present in the election hall and controlled the voting. Many said they were subjected to strong pressure to vote for only candidate, others said they were forced to vote "against their conscience" for fear of retaliation, and threats to their relatives. Nevertheless, in the vote, there were three votes against and three abstentions. But the only candidate received 66 votes soon. Out of five priests who were unwilling to participate in the election manipulation, three are under police surveillance, one is missing (maybe he has gone into hiding), one was arrested.
2) The candidate, Fr Huang, has been eager to become a bishop for a long time and the Vatican has never seen him as a worthy candidate. Fr Huang is defined by his followers as "ambitious", and “power-hungry" and as being too close to the Communist Party. Since 1998 he has been a member of the National People's Congress (China's parliament), he has been president of the PA in Guangdong since last December and is a vice president of the PA at the national level (see the Assembly 09/12/2010 Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church).
3) The Diocese of Shantou already has a bishop in the person of Mgr. Zhuang Jianjian, secretly ordained with Holy See approval in 2006. But the PA does not recognize him as a bishop and has always restrained his pastoral work. Since last December he has been under police control and during Holy Week celebrations this year was prevented from carrying out his ministry