UCA News

China

Bishop Shao freed by Chinese authorities

Underground prelate and priest are released but repression continues to promote officially sanctioned church

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: November 30, 2018 10:32 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Bishop Shao freed by Chinese authorities

Father Lu Danhua (left) and Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin have both been released by the authorities. The photo shows Father Lu when he was ordained by Bishop Shao on Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
An underground bishop and priest have been released by authorities in China's Zhejiang province.

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou and Father Lu Danhua of Lishui were freed on Nov. 23 and 22 respectively.

Bishop Shao was taken away by authorities on Nov. 9 and detained for 14 days while Father Lu was taken away on Dec. 29 last year and detained for 11 months.

Father Lu, who was ordained by Bishop Shao in 2016, is the only priest in sparsely populated Lishui Diocese, which is adjacent to Wenzhou.

A source called Peter told ucanews.com that authorities did not specify the reason for taking away the bishop but just said "going out for a talk," while Father Lu was detained for illegally holding a Mass at Qingtian Catholic Church.  

Peter said Father Lu was detained in a luxurious hotel only a five-minute walk away from his church. The hotel is used to isolate and review officials who violate rules and regulations of the Chinese Communist Party.

"When Father Lu was being detained, more than a dozen members of the Religious Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Bureau of Qingtian County took turns to look after him. Father Lu lived in a room and the guards watched outside," Peter said.

He said Qingtian County authorities took the priest away to "let the priest of the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association occupy Qingtian Catholic Church."

He said Father Lu was released because his brother was sick and needed his comfort.

A source called Thomas told ucanews.com that he believed that Bishop Shao was taken away because Wenzhou Religious Affairs Bureau had always wanted to charge the bishop, but there was no way to do so, so they had "kicked this hot potato" to the Yueqing bureau.

Peter said Yueqing officials had intimidated the bishop to see if his attitude "has been loosened."

Peter also pointed out that local officials recently went to parishes and asked the underground church to be "open" and join the government-approved sector.

"They said that the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement [on the appointment of bishops] implied that former popes had done something wrong, and the one now [Pope Francis] had withdrawn the punishment for eight illegal bishops," Peter said.

"However, the Holy See said that it was they who asked for forgiveness and the pope accepted them back to the church."

He said the provisional agreement had made them confused and he thought it could not improve the situation of the underground church in China. 

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."