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Cardinal says illicit ordinations must end
Emphasizes need for continued dialogue to reach mutually beneficial solutionCardinal John Tong of Hong Kong
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- July 13, 2012
Bishop Ma announced at the event that he would quit his posts at the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). Chinese officials reportedly have kept Bishop Ma from his episcopal ministry in response to his announcement.
âDialogue between China and the Vatican is a must. It is very urgent now to resolve the dramatic case of Bishop Ma Daqin,â Cardinal John Tong Hon said. âOnly with dialogue will a âwin-winâ result eventually be achieved.â
Cardinal Tong has headed the Hong Kong dioceseâs Holy Spirit Study Centre since it was founded in 1980. The center does research on the life of the Church in China.
The Chinese government needs to respect human rights and religion for the sake of justice, human dignity and the welfare of the people. This is the only way of achieving social harmony and a good international image, he said.
âI appreciated Bishop Maâs courage,â Cardinal Tong told ucanews.com in his first remarks on the events.
His ordination has brought the faithful of the âofficialâ and âunregisteredâ Catholic communities closer together, which is positive for the China Church, he said.
Also last week, Father Joseph Yue Fusheng, vice-chairperson of the (CCPA), was ordained bishop of Harbin without papal mandate.
âIllicit bishops have become isolated as Catholics are staying away from them. There is no point in proceeding with illicit ordinations,â Cardinal Tong said.
âWe also heard that in Chinese ordinations some participating bishops were rewarded with money and other goods. It seems to me that this amounts to cases of corruption.â
This is the second time in a week that two Hong Kong cardinals expressed their concern over the situation of the China Church.
The Hong Kong dioceseâs Justice and Peace Commission, joined by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, demonstrated in front of the central governmentâs Liaison Office on Wednesday demanding freedom of movement for Bishop Ma and other clergy.
The commission is mobilizing Catholics to recite the Rosary in front of the Liaison Office and a Mass to pray for religious freedom in ChinaÂ on Monday.
Meanwhile, seven priests and two nuns in Bishop Maâs Shanghai diocese have been summoned by municipal government officials, Church sources said today.
âThey each face long interrogations, up to eight hours a day,â said a source. âThey cannot eat and rest well. We worry about their mental and physical health.â
In one of these priestsâ parishes,Â several times more Catholics than usual attendedÂ today's morning Mass.
âAfter the Mass, many parishioners stayedÂ in the church courtyard,â one said. âBut we could not meet our priest as someone else was already waiting for him. We could only say a silent prayer.â
Vatican âdispleasedâ by bishopâs treatment
Shanghai ordination under investigation
New Shanghai bishop 'barred from ministry