Chinese authorities close Shanghai seminaries
August 22, 2012
Chinese authorities have closed down the seminaries of the Shanghai diocese, in another apparent retaliatory measure after the newly ordained Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin announced his resignation from the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association.
Shanghai’s Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian has announced that the two seminaries—a regional and minor seminary—will not open for classes in September as scheduled. The institutions will remain closed “until further notice,” he said. The bishop said that the measure was taken because of “the present situation”—without providing any further explanation.
Bishop Jin is recognized by the government, and the seminaries operate with government approval. However, Chinese authorities were clearly distressed when Bishop Ma, at his July ordination as an auxiliary for the Shanghai diocese, announced his departure from the Patriotic Association. Bishop Ma also conspicuously avoided sharing the Eucharist with a bishop who had been excommunicated after being consecrated without Vatican approval.
Shortly after his episcopal ordination, Bishop Ma was placed under house arrest at the Shanghai seminary, forbidden to wear his episcopal insignia, and prevented from public appearances. Chinese officials are evidently worried that his refusal to cooperate with the Patriotic Association could be contagious.
In a related move, Chinese officials removed Sister Agnes Liu Shujing from her post as superior of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Presentation. She too was accused of failure to cooperate with the Patriotic Association—a group whose existence has been condemned by the Vatican as incompatible with an authentic Catholic understanding of the Church.
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