ucanews.com reporter, ShanghaiUpdated: December 10, 2012 09:07 PM GMT
The government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church of China (BCCCC) has revoked Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s appointment as “Coadjutor Bishop” of Shanghai, according to Church sources.
The Holy See appointed Father Ma Daqin Auxiliary Bishop of Shanghai. At his ordination on July 7, he became the first bishop to publicly quit the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA.)
Since then, Bishop Ma has been in “retreat” at the Sheshan Regional Seminary in a Shanghai suburb.
The BCCCC, which is not recognized by the Vatican, has also decreed that “a pledge of loyalty is required at all episcopal ordinations in future,” according to a source in Shanghai who requested anonymity. However, the source did not say who future bishops should pledge loyalty to.
The diocese has also suspended Bishop Ma’s priesthood ministry for two years, removed him as the dean of Pudong deanery and as parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tangmuqiao, the source added.
“It means the young bishop is not allowed to make public appearances for the next two years,” said another source, adding that they have yet to see a formal written announcement from the diocese.
According to sources, Bishop Ma can meet people and update his blog occasionally during his “retreat.” He currently posts his reflections on the daily gospel on his Weibo (Twitter-like microblog) every morning.
However, he has not been allowed to concelebrate with other priests at the seminary since last Tuesday, sources said.
The BCCCC said in late July that Bishop Ma seriously violated regulations with regard to episcopal ordinations. Word of the punishments being imposed on him emerged over the weekend.
Chen Jianming of the BCCCC’s external relations office refused to give any details to ucanews.com, saying that the conference is not giving written replies or telephone interviews to the media.
In the eyes of the Communist government, Bishop Ma’s ordination was one of the most serious incidents in the China Church since religious activities were revived 30 years ago.
The move against Bishop Ma comes soon after Communist Party’s national congress last month.