(AsiaNews): Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin,
ordained auxiliary bishop of Shanghai on July 7, with the
approval of the Pope, was taken away by a group of religious
officials in the evening, but nobody knew where they took him
to. Some Catholics specially went to his first mass yesterday
morning, but found that the bishop was missing. According to
local sources, the bishop is now in "resting" in the Sheshan
seminary since yesterday.
Media in Hong Kong reported July 9 that Bishop Ma
went missing after he declared to resign from the Patriotic
Association during the ordination Mass.
Bishop Ma, 44, was recognized by the Holy See as
auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, but for the Chinese government he
is only a coadjutor of the diocese. A native of Shanghai, the
prelate was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and completed his
studies at the Sheshan seminary.
Unlike the illicit ordination of Harbin, held on
July 6, neither the government nor the media linked to the
Patriotic Association (PA) promoted the ceremony. The news was
carried in a few lines on some local websites.
Sources present at the liturgy describe the
heroism of Msgr. Ma, who resigned as a member of the Patriotic
Association and during his ordination, avoided the imposition of
hands, communion and wine, from Msgr. Zhan Silu, bishop of
Mindong (Fujian) not recognized by the Holy See.
On the morning of July 7, at 8 am (local time),
the priests of the diocese of Shanghai, met in the chapel of the
Bishop's Palace, opposite the Cathedral of St. Ignatius,
Xujiahui, for the solemn Mass celebrated by Msgr. Jin Luxian,
bishop of Shanghai. The ceremony began with the reading of the
papal bull and the act of faith professed by Msgr. Ma. Later 40
priests, many of whom came from other dioceses, entered the
church to attend the ordination Mass. Bishop Jin officiated the
ceremony, and Bishop Xu Honggen of Suzhou (Jiangsu) and Bishop
Shen Bin of Haimen (Jiangsu) co-consecrated. Concelebrating were
Bishop Cai Bingrui of Xiamen (Fujian), Bishop Li Suguang of
Nanchang (Jiangxi) and Bishop Zhan Silu of Mindong (Fujian).
The presence of illicitly ordained Bishop Zhan
has upset many priests, nuns and faithful in Shanghai diocese,
who refused to attend or concelebrate. After the laying on of
hands by Bishop Jin and the other two co-consecrating bishops,
Msgr. Ma avoided being laid hands by Bishop Zhan and embraced
the other three prelates.
Upon receiving communion, he has asked for
prayers. The Eucharist was given to the concelebrants and
faithful after mass. Before the end of the ceremony, Msgr. Ma
gave an acceptance speech. He expressed gratitude to the Lord,
Bishop Jin and all the bishops and participants. He addressed
thanks to the priests and to all those who were absent from the
ordination. The bishop also appealed for unity, citing his
chosen coat of arms, and invited all to follow and observe the
tradition of the Catholic Church that feeds his faith. Finally,
he said he wanted to concentrate on his work as an assistant to
Msgr. Jin, and as such it was no longer convenient for him to
maintain his position within the Patriotic Association. As a
result from the day of his ordination he would no longer
continue to be a member of the PA.
A long applause greeted the bishop's words.
Catholics from all over China have expressed positive comments
on his courage and rejoiced in seeing a new sign of hope for the
Meanwhile, local sources told AsiaNews that Fr. Zhao Hongchun,
who disappeared shortly before the illicit ordination of Harbin,
was taken to a place 300 km away from the seat of the diocese.
Fr. Xischeng Zhang, who also disappeared during the ordination,
has instead been taken to another area 250 km from the city.
Both reappeared in the afternoon of July 6, shortly after the
end of the celebration. The sources say that several Catholics
from the official and underground community attended the Sunday