Shanghai (AsiaNews) - The "ordination activites" of Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, is under investigation for allegedly "gravely" violating the regulation on the ordination of bishops in China. This was released today the Patriotic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops with a note. However, the document does not explain under what terms Msgr. Ma Daqin allegedly violated the norm. In addition, Catholic sources for AsiaNews in Harbin (Heilongjiang) report that two priests of the official church under the control of the government are having problems with the local religious authorities for opposing the illicit ordination of 6 July (see 07/06/2012, "The illicit ordination in Harbin strengthens the party of the 'excommunicated'. The apostolic administrator loyal to the Pope is released").
As stated on the official website of the Patriotic Association and bishop council, today's note on Msgr. Ma says: "On the queries raised about the ordination activities of the Coadjutor Bishop of Shanghai in the past days, the spokesperson of the One Association and One Council says: On July 7, the ordination activities of the Coadjutor Bishop of Shanghai Diocese have gravely shown violations of the regulation on episcopal ordination of the Catholic Bishops' Council in China." For this, it says, "the Association and the Council is investigating and evaluating the case."
The Chinese authorities recognized Ma as coadjutor bishop whereas the Holy See approved him as auxiliary bishop.
Meanwhile, while the international media continue to focus on the "rest" of Msgr. Ma (see 07/09/2012, "The courageous auxiliary bishop of Shanghai must 'rest' in the seminary"), the diocese of Shanghai breaks the silence and has announced on its website that the bishop is on a "personal retreat," denying "all allegations that claim he is detained, under house arrest or has disappeared", which are "just rumors". However, the message does not refer to him as "Bishop" but only as "Ma Daqin".
The note from Shanghai, which appeared under the name of "spokesman for the diocese of Shanghai", emphasizes that "Ma in person has sought and obtained the consent of Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian [to go on retreat]. Since July 8, he has been on retreat at the sanctuary of Sheshan, where he hopes not to be disturbed."
The webmasters of some Catholic sites in mainland China told AsiaNews yesterday that religious officials have warned them to cancel any news related to the ordination of Msgr. Ma.
In recent days, the discussions and comments that have appeared on various online forums and Catholic groups were very active, especially in expressing support for the courageous action of Mgr. Ma, and in exhorting the other bishops to follow his example. However, others disagreed with the Bishop's move.