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» 12/10/2012
VATICAN - CHINA
Under arrest, Mgr Ma Daqin is stripped of his title as Shanghai bishop
by Wang Zhicheng
Mgr Thaddeus Daqin quit the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association the day of his ordination as a token of obedience to the pope. He also refused to share communion with an excommunicated bishop. The government-sanctioned Bishops' Conference, which stripped him of his title, is not recognised by the Holy See. Xi Jinping's leadership elicits hopes and brings disappointments.

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.

The brutal 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.

Worshippers 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.

Founded 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."

The Holy 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 member.

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.

Many analysts 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 opposite.


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See also
05/04/2006 CHINA – VATICAN
A sigh of relief among Chinese Catholics after Vatican issues statement on illegitimate ordinations
05/19/2009 VATICAN – CHINA
Prayer in Naples for the Church in China as Chinese Catholics face difficulties in Sheshan
10/25/2013 CHINA - VATICAN
As Mgr Ma Daqin's reflection on 'Lumen Fidei' is blocked, a new priest is ordained in Shanghai
by Lorenzo Li
04/02/2005 vatican - china
China: the Vatican denounces the arrest of bishop, priest and layperson
07/14/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
Cardinal Zen: The Church in China two years after the Pope's Letter
by Card. Joseph Zen

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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