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Chinese bishop under house arrest makes rare public appearance

Catholic World News - October 31, 2013

Shanghai’s Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who has been under house arrest since July 2012, made a rare public appearance last week, the UCANews service reports.

Bishop Ma attended a memorial service for Shen Baoyi who died on October 20. Shen had been the editor of Guanggi Press, the first Catholic publishing house to function in China when the Communist regime allowed some scope for religious activities in the 1970s. When Shen retired, he was succeeded by then-Father Ma.

At the memorial service, Bishop Ma blessed the remains of his former colleague, gave his condolences to relatives, and then left.

Bishop Ma has been confined to the grounds of the Shanghai seminary since shortly after his episcopal ordination in 2012. He angered Chinese officials at that ceremony by announcing his resignation from the government-supported Catholic Patriotic Association and refusing to share Communion with a government-appointed bishop who is not recognized by the Vatican.

The bishop's brief public appearance could indicate that the government is relaxing its tight restrictions on his public ministry.

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