Card.Zen: Bishop of Shanghai’s case a disgrace for Church and new Chinese leadership
by Card. Joseph Zen
By removing the title of Bishop of Shanghai from Msgr. Ma Daqin, "opportunist" bishops have obeyed Patriotic Association leaders who fear loosing control of the Church. But in doing so they are slinging mud on the new leadership in Beijing. The Vatican too slow to judge these bishops as "schismatic".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The revocation of the title of Bishop of Shanghai from Msgr. Taddeo Ma Daqin, passed off as an act of the Council of Chinese Bishops [the so-called "Episcopal Conference" which is not recognized by the Holy See], is actually the work of some members of the Patriotic Association who are grappling to defend their acquired rights over the Church. In this analysis, published yesterday in Chinese on his personal blog, Card. Joseph Zen, accuses them of putting the Party leaders and the Chinese state in a bad light. The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong also asks the Vatican to firmly and clearly express itself on those bishops who are creating a schism in the Church in China. Below, the text sent to us by Card. Zen.

What a disgrace, what a shame!

It took five months. Msgr. Ma's beautiful blog posts had, to some extent, relieved our anxieties. Beijing's silence was understandable: they were otherwise occupied. A one-line comment arrived from Rome on July 8 and then a mention in the recent article by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

My blog was blank, waiting for some good news, at any time. But it was all an illusion. The sad and shameful facts are now before our eyes.

They have disqualified Msgr. Ma!? But who do they think they are? Do they think they can even disqualify the Pope? They have made it quite clear that the Pope has no voice in the affairs of the Church in China. But then, is theirs not a schismatic church?

The canonists in Rome will probably say that "perhaps they acted under pressure."

So what? Archbishop Savio Hon says that the Holy See expects the people involved to explain why they wanted to hurt Mother Church in this way. But will they answer? How long is the Holy See willing to wait? They have long understood that words can remain simple that, just words. Action i san altogether different matter (just look at the fate of many a statement issued by the Commission for the Church in China).

Two poor unfortunates, have been excommunicated. But others, with one, two, three, four illicit episcopal ordinations on their conscience are forging ahead as if everything was normal. Illegitimate bishops, ie pseudo-bishops, are still pontificating with great solemnity. The excommunications not have them frightened them and continue to challenge the discipline and the faith of the Church.

The opportunists seem confident that when the dialogue with the Beijing government, begged for by the Holy See resumes, they will have the victory.

Obviously the Patriotic Association and the [so-called] Episcopal Conference are just puppets, and those who maneuver them are the real "culprits".

We know that Mr. Liu Bainian, the so-called Honorary President [of the PA], has a lot to do with these moves and often personally intervene to lend a hand to his disciples who, after all, are not up to the job. Certainly he is not alone among those who seek to defend their acquired advantages teeth and nails,he has the support of the United Front, the Office for Religious Affairs and the police. It is slightly hypocritical though, that they have chosen to hide behind the Association and the Conference. The case was clearly political. Why do they not have the courage to come out and claim their merits? How shameful!

The fact that the long-awaited verdict was issued at this time, immediately after the conclusion of the Party Congress, suggests that it was decided by the new leaders. But I have my doubts. Where did they find the time for this case of little importance? If I am right, then those responsible make it seem thus ....... are guilty of seriously damaging the name of the new leadership. If, instead, my doubts are unfounded, then I can only say to my brother priests in China: go back home to work the land!

But do not forget how to say Mass, because tomorrow we will still need you.


"Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

Rise up! Do not reject us forever!

Why do you hide your face;

why forget our pain and misery?

For our soul has been humiliated in the dust;

our belly is pressed to the earth.

Rise up, help us!

Redeem us in your mercy".


                                Psalm 44, 24-27