HONG KONG (CNS) — Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong in China’s eastern Fujian province has not returned after being forced to pay a visit to the religious affairs bureau in Fuan April 7, local sources told ucanews.com.
Local Catholics said the move was to prevent the new bishop from presiding over his first chrism Mass, a symbol of unity for the clergy.
“The security bureau informed the diocese that the provincial religious affairs bureau asked him to attend a learning class for 20 days,” said a priest who asked not to be named, adding that has not heard of any other unregistered bishop in the province needing to do the course. China requires Catholic leaders to register with the government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, and Chinese authorities have frequently arrested Catholics who reject government control.
“Without the bishop, the chrism Mass is bound to fall through,” the priest told ucanews.com, referring to the service that was planned for Holy Thursday, April 13.
Another church source condemned the authorities for creating confusion.
“How come they always make excuses to take the bishop away when a church feast needs his presence?” said the source.
According to church tradition, on the Thursday before Easter, all of the priests of a diocese gather with their bishop at the cathedral for the blessing of chrism and other holy oils used during the year. This year’s chrism Mass would be Bishop Guo’s first following the death of his predecessor, Bishop Vincent Huang Shoucheng, last July.
In Hebei province, where there are nearly 1 million Catholics, security officials took Coadjutor Bishop Cui Tai of Xuanhua from his sister’s home around mid-February, two weeks after the Chinese New Year, ucanews.com reported.
“Bishop Cui has been under repeated detention since 2008 and is only allowed to come home from house arrest twice a year, for Chinese New Year and the moon festival,” a Hebei church source told ucanews.com April 10.
“This is not due to leniency but because security officers also have to go home for the two festivals. After new year ends, the officials take him back again. He is now probably being detained in a hostel somewhere,” the source added.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103