Chinese bishops siezed in advance of another illicit consecration

A reader clued me into a story about another potential ecclesial train-wreck in poor China.  From Sino Daily we read this, which originated with AFP:

Chinese bishops ‘taken away’ by police: report

(AFP) – 1 day ago

VATICAN CITY — Four bishops loyal to the Vatican have been “taken away” by Chinese police in recent days to take part in a state-sanctioned ordination, the Catholic news agency AsiaNews said on Monday.

“Nobody knows where the four pastors are being held,” the report said, adding that local sources had told AsiaNews that one of the bishops “was sobbing last night as he was dragged away by government representatives.”

The Vatican and China have been locked in a bitter struggle in recent months over control of the Catholic Church in China, with the Vatican saying that ordinations being carried out by the official church are illegitimate.

AsiaNews said three bishops were taken away yesterday: Liang Jiansen of Jiangmen, Liao Hongqing of Meizhou and Paul Su Yongda of Zhanjiang[May I suggest that you pray for them?]

Bishop Joseph Junqi of Guangzhou has been missing for days.

It said four other bishops loyal to Pope Benedict XVI were due to take part in the ordination of Father Huang Bingzhang on July 14 in Shantou.

It said one bishop, Paul Pei Junmin, who has been designated as the principal celebrant at the ordination, is being protected by his priests in the cathedral of Shenyang in order not to participate in the ceremony.

AsiaNews said that uniformed and plainclothes police officers were outside the cathedral, and said the priests were holding non-stop prayers inside.  [Remember the story of St. Ambrose and his flock shut up in their church when the Arian-Imperial officials wanted to confiscate it for their use?]

Long-running tensions between the Vatican and Beijing frayed earlier this month after the Holy See excommunicated an “illegitimate” Chinese bishop and China’s state-run Church threatened to continue defying the pope.

China’s 5.7 million Catholics are increasingly caught between showing allegiance to the officially sanctioned Patriotic Catholic Association or to the pope as part of an “underground” Church not recognised by the authorities.

The Vatican had hoped that China would guarantee religious freedom while opening up its economy in recent years. Beijing had initially agreed to postpone new bishop ordinations but its attitude hardened again in 2010.

Tensions rose after a bishop was ordained without official permission from the Roman Catholic Church in Chengde in northern China last November.

In May, the pope called on all bishops to “refuse to take the path of separation,” in spite of “pressure” from the communist authorities.

But the Patriotic Catholic Association ignored these appeals and announced last month that it hoped to ordain 40 bishops “without delay”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. RDMaines says:

    I will remember the Chinese Bishops in my prayers. China is always close to my heart because we have two girls adopted from China.

  2. GMRUNNER says:

    I sent an email to secretary Clinton and to Vice President Joe Biden to use whatever influence they have to protest the treatment of Catholic bishops loyal to the papacy.

  3. Brad says:

    Red China is really tired. I wish our Mother would put her foot down there in a final way and demolish this rotten fruit of the soviet tree.

  4. eulogos says:

    Brad…do you mean our Mother the Church? Because she cannot demolish Red China. She can insist that Catholics not cooperate at all with the Patriotic Church…but this is where most of them are used to going to church and that might cause what She has been trying so hard to avoid, a schism which would lose China to the Church. Even what she is asking now, that bishops not cooperate in unapproved consecrations, may be asking for martyrdom from these bishops. The Chinese authorities arrested the bishops to force them to participate in these consecrations. It is frightening to think of what they must be going through right now. We should all pray for them.

    Susan Peterson

  5. Brad says:

    Our Mother, lady of Fatima.

  6. moon1234 says:

    The Chinese have to know that killing Catholic Bishops loyal to the Church will only create Martyrs. It can do nothing but end badly for the communists if they proceed down this path.

    I really do not understand what they are so afraid of? Even Russia has a modicum of religious freedom now. People loyal to their faith also tend to be the same people who are loyal to their country (and not a political party).

  7. mike cliffson says:

    “How many divisions has the Pope?” unquote.
    God send history repeats and like the sayer of the above and his system , the church’s enemies “vanish and be seen no more”.
    I know the blood of martyrs brings future fruit, but it feels a bit condescending sitting and praying for them and then toodling off to comfy tea in the west.

  8. J Kusske says:

    Wow, just wow! I know the priests in Shenyang very well as I helped them with English mass a number of years ago. Thank God they are standing up for the Vatican and showing their loyalty! May they succeed by God’s grace in defying the government mandate, amen! And may they and others doing the same be an example for all the faithful in China!

  9. anilwang says:

    “The Chinese have to know that killing Catholic Bishops loyal to the Church will only create Martyrs. ”

    Actually, they don’t. Tienanmen Square seemed like a turning point, much like Yeltsin’s resistance to the Communist coup attempt on the USSR, yet the Chinese were able to squash it. That incident taught China that a hard enough crackdown can stop movements. And we must not be too cocky that Christianity is different. India and Africa used to have much larger Catholic populations, but they were virtually wiped out by Muslim and Hindu rulers. As history confirms, Catholicism globally is secure, but locally, it can be wiped out despite the martyrs.

  10. Dr. Eric says:

    I offer my prayers for Bishops Liang Jiansen, Liao Hongqing, Paul Su Yongda and Joseph Junqi through the intercession of Our Lady of Sheshan.

  11. Singing Mum says:

    Speaking only for myself, I often guess that God created me in this time and place because I could not easily survive and remain faithful to Him in another.
    Prayers and sacrifices for these bishops and all the faithful in China. I simply cannot fathom their situation. May we all remain united in the Heart of Jesus. Thanks for reporting on this, Fr. Z.

  12. Prof. Basto says:

    If they are forced to proceed and if they do go ahead, doesn’t this resistance and the fact that they needed to be incarcerated in order to participate speak volumes about LACK OF INTENTION?

    I mean, usually the intention of the minister is presumed based on the fact that he utters the words of the Rite; if he performs the Rite, his internal intention is assumed, because there is no evidence of lack of intention. But here, we all know that, if they proceed, they will do so under duress.

    Praying for those bishops.

  13. benedetta says:

    I agree I do not see what the big threat to the government is all about. Again it seems irrational and when the government is powered by that it is scary for Christians.

    Have read that in the time of Marco Polo although Kublai Khan had established Buddhism as the official religion at the same time there was a prevailing attitude of religious tolerance and freedom, embracing of religious and artistic freedom as being a healthy good even in the governing context such as it was.

  14. benedetta says:

    Of course the government may be very afraid that if permitted to come into contact with the Living God, on God’s terms, not encounter under control of government, then logically people would realize God’s love for all human beings. The government cannot abide having it be realized openly that the state control over the process of human life coming into the world is evil and corrupt, obviously.

    There are parallels in the west obviously. Strip the Mass of reverence and interfere with the means for communal prayer, deny the profound evil of the prochoice mentality, equate choice with prolife as just a valid political choice but having nothing to do with who we are in relation to God, hint and wink that priests, Bishops, the Church is to uphold first and foremost and support the law of the land, not resist. Historians are well aware of what the power of communal prayer can do, if the abolition movement or the leadership of Martin Luther King, or the blood of various martyrs situated in many places have anything to say to us. It is not the community activism that is feared and needed to be brought under control (even in “Catholic” circles and media unfortunately) but the power of the dignity of persons in the light of God and that communion that is targeted in so many ways. Interesting that certain bright lights of theological thought at work in America now wish to help the Chinese government in their control of the Church. One might ask, in America, is their advocacy for the government, dressed up in Church-y language, or is it for the Body of Christ, holy?

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