Seminarians at Sheshan do not know when, or if, the new academic year will begin
Seminaries in Shanghai have postponed the start of the new academic year next month, a move priests said marked the latest fallout following the dramatic resignation last month of a bishop from the state-sponsored Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, as another notice stated the head of the diocesan nuns had been dismissed.
Coadjutor Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, the head of Shanghai’s “open” church, issued a notice to Sheshan Major Seminary and Tailaiqiao Minor Seminary stating classes had been delayed “until further notice” due to the “current situation,” without elaborating.
“The notice was brief but it shocked us,” a priest said today, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Another church source who also declined to be identified said church leaders in areas around Shanghai were planning to raise their objections at the decision with provincial authorities.
Sheshan accepts would-be priests from the five nearby provinces that make up the the central eastern region of China – Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Zhejiang – as well as from Shanghai, a self-administered municipality.
“Sheshan is a regional seminary. It should not be embroiled in the ordination incident,” said another church source who also declined to be identified.
The notice comes a few days after the state-sponsored church issued a notice on Friday dismissing Sister Agnes Liu Shujing, superior general of the Our Lady of Presentation Congregation, which then cancelled a week-long training course for all of its 86 nuns.
“We will obey as the decision comes from the diocese,” said a nun at the congregation. “No matter how confused the situation is, we shall strive to fulfill our duty.”
There has been no official explanation for the dismissal or the subsequent cancellation of the course.
Sr. Liu was reportedly “uncooperative” when local government officials repeatedly summoned her after a number of nuns boycotted the ordination of Bishop Ma over the presence of an illicit bishop.
Sources said Sr. Liu delayed issuing a notice for the nuns to attend the July 7 ordination.
Meanwhile, the bishop at the center of the controversy in Shanghai remains in Sheshan and is still not permitted to wear bishop's garb, said a source at the seminary who had seen Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin.
“He looked pale and thin,” added the source.
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