The highest-ranking Chinese official at the Vatican has condemned the communist-sanctioned Church in China for trying to strip a papally-approved bishop of his title.
In a statement on 13 December Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, excoriated the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and its national conference of bishops for withdrawing recognition of Thaddeus Ma Daqin as an auxiliary bishop in Shanghai.
During his episcopal ordination in July, Bishop Ma, 44, announced he was quitting the CCPA and the bishops' conference. He has been detained ever since.
"Episcopal conferences do not have the power to appoint or approve a bishop, revoke his mandate or impose sanctions on him. Much less ... the so-called Conference of Catholic Bishops of China," Archbishop Hon said.
Above: Bishop Ma shortly before his episcopal ordination. He has been detained in his seminary ever since. Photo: CNS