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Shanghai's Bishop Ma makes rare public appearance

Signs that his 14-month confinement may be relaxing

<p>Bishop Ma at his ordination on July 7, 2012. (File photo: ucanews.com)</p>

Bishop Ma at his ordination on July 7, 2012. (File photo: ucanews.com)

  • ucanews.com reporter, Shanghai
  • China
  • October 31, 2013
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It has emerged that Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai made a brief appearance at a former colleague’s memorial service last week.

The young prelate has been largely confined to Sheshan Seminary in the suburbs of Shanghai since July 2012, when he dramatically declared his resignation from the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association during his ordination as bishop.

The former colleague was Shen Baoyi, who died on Oct 20 at the age of 90. He was editor-in-chief of Guangqi Press, the first Catholic publishing house to be opened in China after religious activities were revived in the late 1970s. Upon his retirement in 1998, he was succeeded by then Father Ma.

During the memorial service, held at Longhua Funeral Parlor in Shanghai on Oct 24, Bishop Ma paid tribute to Shen and blessed his body. After offering his condolences to Shen’s family, he then left quietly.

His confinement to the seminary, apparently ordered by the state, appears to have been slightly relaxed in recent months. Accompanied by local government officials he visited Jinggangshan, the birthplace of China’s former Red Army and cradle of its revolution, in July.

This was a “symbolic gesture” to show remorse to the Chinese authorities, an anonymous source told ucanews.com. However, the source added that “it is still too early to say that Bishop Ma has regained his freedom and could return to normal episcopal ministry soon.” 

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