Updated: December 11, 2012 09:31 PM GMT
The Vatican yesterday reaffirmed its right to defend Chinese Christians after the state-sanctioned Conference of the Catholic Church of China revoked the appointment of renegade Shanghai Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin.
In an interview on Vatican Radio, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi cited the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who wrote of the “serious” situation of the clergy in China in a recent article in the Hong Kong journal Tripod.
News that Bishop Ma had been removed from his position emerged on Monday, via Church sources.
The Vatican had no furtheir information on the situation, said Fr Lombardi.
In July, Bishop Ma antagonized Bejing when he became the first bishop to publicly quit the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association at his ordination.