Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Vatican-approved Chinese bishop detained says report

Posted by radiofreechina on May 9, 2007

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

ROME, ITALY (ANS) — A Chinese bishop approved by the Vatican but not by the state-controlled church has been held in custody for over a month, a Catholic news agency has said.
Martin Wu Qinjing
Martin Wu Qinjing, bishop of Zhouzhi (Picture from China Aid Assocation)
A story carried in The China Post in Taiwan, said that the Rome-based AsiaNews service, which specializes in China, had stated that Martin Wu Qinjing, bishop of Zhouzhi in the northern province of Shaanxi, was taken from his church on March 17.

It said the bishop was being held by police and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association at an undisclosed location, where he was being subjected to “political sessions” to force him to give up his diocese.

Contacts with faithful or priests from his church were prohibited, AsiaNews said, adding, however, that a message from the bishop in which he asked Catholics to pray for his release had been read out on Easter Sunday.

Wu was consecrated bishop in 2005 with the Vatican’s blessing, but his leadership is not recognized by the government-approved church, which according to AsiaNews deemed the appointment illegal and controlled by “foreign influences”.

AsiaNews said the Chinese government had released a document last month saying Wu “should not run any church affairs as a bishop and should not interfere with the Zhouzhi diocese management”.

The China Post story went on to say, “China’s 10 million Catholics are split between an underground church loyal to the Vatican and the official church, which rejects papal control.

“In recent years, Chinese religious authorities and the Vatican have clashed over the appointment of bishops, although Pope Benedict has made normalizing relations with China one of his priorities.”

AsiaNews said Wu had already been detained for a few days last year after he celebrated a mass wearing the bishop’s skullcap

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