Shanghai (AsiaNews) - For the past several
months, the courageous auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, Mgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin, has
been under house arrest. Ordained last 7 July, he might lose his Episcopal post
after government-sanctioned Bishops'
Conference of the Catholic Church of China (BCCCC) revoked his appointment, UCANews reported. Sources told AsiaNews the rumours circulating on the
subject of Mgr Ma are true, but no official decision has yet to be made public.
action against the auxiliary bishop did not come as a surprise. On
the day of his Episcopal ordination, Mgr Ma challenged the government's
60-year Church policy by resigning from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
(CPCA), which controls the Church, and by refusing to share the chalice with a
bishop excommunicated by the Holy See.
present at the ceremony gave the new prelate a long standing ovation. For many,
he came to embody the
courage exhibited by many Chinese priests and bishops. However, the
authorities are truly terrified by the possibility that many more might reject
the CPCA, and thus undermining party control.
Right after his ordination, the new bishop was placed
under house arrest at the diocesan seminary, near Our Lady of Sheshan shrine. Since
then, he has been denied the right to wear the zucchetto, ring, pectoral cross and
all other tokens of his Episcopal office. Recently, he has also been denied the
right to co-celebrate Mass with other priests. Seminarians
and nuns who helped the bishop in his act of defiance were also punished.
in 1958 on the orders of Mao Zedong, the CPCA wants to set up a Catholic Church
that is independent of the Holy See, one that would see bishops named and
elected independently of the pope. In his Letter to Chinese Catholics, Benedict
XVI wrote that such a proposition is "incompatible with Catholic doctrine."
See does not recognise the BCCCC, which appears to have removed Mgr Ma from
office, because it includes only bishops recognised by China's Communist
authorities, some of whom have been excommunicated. No underground bishop is a
The action against Mgr Ma comes a few weeks after the
Chinese Communist Party held its congress, and chose a new leadership, that of
the fifth generation, under Xi Jinping, the new party general secretary, who
will in a few months time also become China's president.
have praised the new leader as a sober reformer who could improve the situation
of religious freedom in China. However, the latest events indicate the