Four priests ordained in Shanghai; bishop remains in custody
June 08, 2017
Four priests were ordained in China’s Shanghai diocese, although the diocesan bishop, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, remains under house arrest and was not present at the ceremony.
The four priests were ordained by Bishop Shen Bin of Haimen, who is recognized by both the Chinese government and the Holy See. Bishop Shen Bin is vice-president of the Catholic Patriotic Association, the government-backed body whose role Pope Benedict XVI said was incompatible with Church teaching.
The four new priests had been ordained to the diaconate just one day before their priestly ordination. This highly unusual sequence of events is explained in part by the fact that the seminary in Shanghai has been closed since 2012, and some candidates for ordination had completed their studies five years ago.
Shanghai’s Bishop Ma Daqin has been under house arrest since his episcopal ordination, when he enraged government officials by announcing his resignation from the Patriotic Association. He has subsequently issued an apology for his harsh judgment of the Patriotic Association—an apology that some “underground” Catholics suspect was made under duress—but still has not been allowed to resume his public ministry.