Mindong, Msgr. Guo is back, but banned from celebrating Chrism Mass as bishop
Police have banned him from celebrating Mass as a bishop. Msgr. Guo refused to concelebrate with the official bishop Zhan Silu, who is still excommunicated. Police actions against Msgr. Julius Jia Zhiguo and Heilongjiang priests
Mindong (AsiaNews) - Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin was returned yesterday to his house, after being held overnight in police custody. He had been detained by public security officials on the evening of March 26, together with the chancellor of the diocese. Msgr. Guo, 59, is ordinary bishop of Mindong, recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government, which instead supports the illegitimate bishop Msgr. Zhan Silu, who thus far is still excommunicated.
Under a possible agreement between China and the Vatican that many rumor is "imminent", Msgr. Guo has been asked to step aside in favor of leaving the role of ordinary bishop of the diocese to Msgr. Zhan. The latter has already requested reconciliation with the Holy See, but so far there has been no public proclamation of the lifting of the excommunication.
AsiaNews sources close to Mindong, say that Msgr. Guo refused to concelebrate with Msgr. Zhan at tomorrow’s Chrism Mass, since Zhan is still officially excommunicated.
He was taken away because the unofficial community of Mindong - the majority of the faithful and priests of the diocese - had organized an early Chrism Mass. The police seized Msgr. Guo to stop him from presiding over the celebration. Allowing him to return home yesterday, they banned him from celebrating any Mass as a bishop, as he is not recognized by the government.
With the approach of the so-called "imminent" and "historic" agreement between China and the Vatican, several bishops and underground communities are being targeted and pushed to join the Patriotic Association, to erase their being part of the underground Church.
At the beginning of March, Msgr. Julius Jia Zhiguo, underground bishop of Zhengding (Hebei), was taken away by the police to avoid, by pain of threat, him commenting on the dialogue between China and the Vatican with foreign journalists in Beijing who were covering the National People’s Congress. In these days, even the unofficial priests of Heilongjiang, together with the apostolic administrator of Harbin, Msgr. Giuseppe Zhao, were scolded and taken away for a short time by the police.