Catholic World News

Vatican reaffirms support for Chinese bishop under house arrest

December 11, 2012

Responding to reports that Chinese authorities have withdrawn their recognition for Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the Vatican has reaffirmed the exclusive right of the Holy See to appoint Catholic bishops.

Regarding the status of Bishop Ma, the Shanghai auxiliary who is under house arrest, “the Holy See at this time does not have any information other than what has appeared in the media,” Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters. He said that the Vatican’s position regarding the Church in China remains unchanged, citing an October statement by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization.

Mentioning Bishop Ma as one of the Chinese clerics “segregated or deprived of their liberty,” Cardinal Filoni said that the restraints on the Church in China remain serious. He said:

In the absence of freedom of religion or in the presence of strong limitations, does it not pertain to the whole Church to defend the legitimate rights of Chinese faithful, and primarily to the Holy See to give voice to those who have none?


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  • Posted by: JIZ - Dec. 12, 2012 3:13 AM ET USA

    In his Popular History of the Catholic Church, Philip Hughes notes that in 1789, the pope could freely appoint bishops in only two states: the Papal States and the USA. In all other nations, the pope had to resort to some sort of negotiations with the civil power. The situation with the Chinese, then, is sadly not a new one. And Providence works through it all: according to Witness to Hope, Wojtyla was appointed in Krakow only after the rejection of seven other candidates (if memory serves).

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 11, 2012 4:37 PM ET USA

    The Chinese government "de-bishoptizing" points out the fact that the Vatican has generally allowed the government to select someone and the Vatican approves (rarely does it not). This system was long-overdue to breakdown (and shouldn't have been allowed to exist in the first place). Now both the Vatican and the Chinese government have egg on their faces and it is likely that Bishop Ma, unless he gives in, will re relegated to obscurity. This is the price you pay for appeasement.