China : Chinese Authorities « Revoke » Bishop Ma Daqin

Source: FSSPX News

According to a dispatch from the agency Eglises d’Asie (EdA – Churches of Asia) dated December 10, Bishop Ma Daqin (on the picture), auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Shanghai has been stripped of his office. Ordained on July 7, in the cathedral of Shanghai, with the approval of Rome and of Peking, the prelate announced at the end of the ceremony that he would retire from the Patriotic Association of the Catholics of China, the instrument Peking uses to impose its politics on the “official” part of the Church of China.

The Chinese authorities then put him under house arrest, relieving him of his functions de facto, until a decision could be made on his case.

Besides this “revocation”, Bishop Ma has been suspended from priestly ministry for the next two years. EdA points out that Bishop Ma also lost his charges as head of the deanery of Pudong and as pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Tangmuqiao. “This means that the young bishop is forbidden to appear in public for the next two years,” explains a local source, quoted by the Asian Catholic press agency Ucanews. The agency adds that no written document making these decisions formal has yet been produced.

Finally, as far as the degree of freedom that Bishop Mas stills enjoys today goes, local sources, quoted by EdA indicate that he is still able to post his reflections on the Gospel of the day on his website, and that he can also post comments on his blog and receive visitors. However, since December 4, he has not been seen in the chapel of the large seminary where he used to celebrate Mass.

Besides the sanctions imposed on Bishop Ma, the “official” Bishops’ Conference has announced other measures that have been taken. For example, an “oath of loyalty” will be established “at all episcopal ordinations from now on,” and will strengthen the existing declaration of fidelity to the Communist power.

The Vatican has declared the revocation of Bishop Ma Daqin null and void. In his statements quoted by the Roman missionary agency Fides, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai claimed that the revocation of Peking’s episcopal approval of Bishop Ma Daqin, ordained a bishop last July, was “of no juridical weight whatsoever” in the Church’s eyes. As far as the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples is concerned, “Bishop Ma Daqin remains an auxiliary bishop of Shanghai,” for the “Bishops’ Conferences do not have the competence to name or to approve a bishop, nor to revoke him or punish him. This competence is reserved for the Holy See.” This is even more true of the “so-called Conference of the Catholic Bishops of China; they do not have this competence, considering that they are not even recognized by the Holy See.”

(sources: apic/eda/fides – DICI#267 Dec. 21, 2012)

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