New Detentions of Chinese Catholics

Reports out of China indicate that Beijing is increasing its pressure on members of the so-called underground Catholic church, distinguihed from the Beijing-administered Patriotic Catholic Church by its fealty to Rome. Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) is reporting that Chinese security officials have detained a number of underground church leaders from Tianshui diocese in northwestern Gansu province over the weekend, including diocesan administrator Father John Baptist Wang Ruohan; retired Bishop Casmir Wang Milu; Father John Wang Ruowang; "as well as several other priests and dozens of parish lay leaders." (Bishop Wang and the two Father Wangs are brothers.) The roundup appears timed to suppress opposition to a possible bishop's ordination in Tianshui. The Patriotic Catholic Church has not had a diocesan bishop since the passing of Bishop Augustine Zhao Jinglong in 2004. 

Local church officials report that the detained members of the underground church are being questioned by Chinese authorities and forced to attend "study sessions" for four hours a day. The AP reports that an official with the local government's Religious Affairs Bureau said "there was definitely no detention at all" and that the men were merely taking part in a routine training session.


After the appearance of improved relations in recent years, Rome and Beijing have reverted to historic form since Beijing reinitiated a campaign of bishops' ordinations o the Patriotic Catholic Church without a mandate from Rome. That has led to the excommunication of some recently ordained bishops and others who cooperated with their ordination as the Vatican and Chinese authroities continue to wrestle for control of China's Catholics.

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John Barbieri
6 years 7 months ago
",,, control of China's Catholics."
What an unfortunate choice of words!
Craig McKee
6 years 6 months ago
And as long as Beijing's CHECKBOOK DIPLOMACY continues to make cash-strapped Western leaders swoon from the multi-billion dollar contracts and trade agreements they are signing, the situation is not likely to improve any time soon.

Memo to Propaganda Fidei: Call their bluff and petition to open a nunciature in Beijing, thus smoking out their real intentions for all the world to see.
Thomas Piatak
6 years 6 months ago
Totalitarian governments hate the Catholic Church precisely because of its connection to the Pope, since the Pope is outside their control.  Time and again, such governments have tried to sever the connection between the faithful and the Holy See.  What the Chinese Communists want Catholics to do is exactly what Communists in Ukraine and Yugoslavia asked Catholics to do-sever the tie to Rome.  Cardinal Slipyj and Cardinal Stepinac went to prison rather than do the Communists' bidding, just as these brave Chinese Catholics are facing prison today.  We should all pray for our fellow Catholics in China undergoing the latest installment in the long history of Communist persecution of the Church.


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