(AsiaNews / UCAN) - At least 160 priests and nuns of the diocese of Shanghai
underwent a period of "brainwashing" to inculcate in them a
"service to the nation" and the ideal of a Church independent of the
Holy See .
The "re-education" was deemed necessary following Msgr. Ma Daqin's "blow" dealt on the day of his Episcopal ordination (see photo) when he announced that he no longer belonged to the Patriotic Association (PA), in order to better respond to his pastoral responsibilities.
AsiaNews sources point to Ma Daqin's courageous act in breaking with an "ambiguous tradition" which demands that believers must submit to the PA in order to "serve the nation", whose ideal is to create a national church independent of the Pope. In fact, in light of recent scandals that took place in the Party, the Chinese population is increasingly critical of government representatives considered corrupt. The sources point out that when Msgr. Ma Daqin announced his resignation from the PA, the whole assembly, a part from government representatives, applauded loudly.
From the day of his ordination, Msgr. Ma has been kept under house arrest in the seminary of Sheshan, unable to perform his pastoral work and an investigation against him has been opened. Seminarians and nuns who had prepared his ordination, in an attempt to prevent illicit bishops from the celebration, are now suffering the vengeance of the PA: the seminary has not yet opened its doors for this academic year, and the superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Presentation has been dismissed.
Another chapter in this process of "normalization" is "brainwashing": in September, 160 priests and nuns, divided into three groups, were forced to attend three days of formation at the Institute for socialism in Shanghai for 12 hours a day of classes, on their duty to the nation, religious regulations and the principles of independence of the Chinese Church.
In the best Maoist tradition, the lessons were mandatory and after the course there was an exam, along with a written composition in which participants had to "confess" what they had learned. Members of the Religious Affairs at a provincial, city and district level attended the lectures as supervisors.