ChinaAid Praises Shanghai’s auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin for His Act of Conscience

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

China Aid Association

(Midland, Texas–July 11, 2012) Last Saturday, at an illegitimate ordination ceremony held by China’s state-run Catholic Patriotic Association, auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin publicly announced his resignation from the Patriotic Association effective immediately. ChinaAid expresses its understanding and appreciation for this act. 

According to reports by Radio Free Asia and BBC Chinese News, Ma Daqin used to be a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the deputy director of Shanghai Catholic Patriotic Association. On July 7, 2012, disregarding the Vatican’s angry protests, China’s state-run Catholic Patriotic Association held ordination ceremonies in Shanghai and Harbin without the approval of the Vatican. In his speech at the ordination mass held at the St. Ignatius Cathedral located in Xujiahui, Shanghai, auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin of Shanghai diocese said that, as an auxiliary bishop appointed by the Vatican, he would resign from his position in the Patriotic Association, effective immediately, and would focus on the chaplaincy and evangelism. Later he was taken away by the authorities and has disappeared. He was reportedly being detained at Sheshan monastery outside Shanghai of which he is a member.

In a statement issued after the incident, the Vatican praised Ma Daqin as “commendable and encouraging” and excommunicated Bishop Yue Fusheng of the diocese of Harbin, who was ordained by Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association on July 6 without the approval of Pope Benedict XVI. Before this incident, Chinese government had accused the Vatican of “creating division and confusion within the Chinese church”. After the incident, the spokesperson of the “one association and one conference”, i.e. the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China, said on July 11, “The ordination mass of Shanghai’s auxiliary bishop on July 7 is suspected of being in serious violation of the regulations of the Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China regarding the appointment of bishops. The ‘one association and one conference’ of the Chinese Catholic Church is conducting an investigation and will make an assessment.”

The Ma Daqin incident set off a massive response inside and outside of China. ChinaAid highly commends Ma Daqin’s act of integrity, condemns the Chinese government for detaining him, and urges the Chinese government to immediately release this auxiliary bishop widely revered by Catholic believers in Shanghai and to follow the law in respecting the Chinese people’s right to religious freedom. 

Like the “two committees” of the the Chinese Christian Council and the Three-self Patriotic Movement, China’s Catholic Patriotic “one association and one conference” has been indoctrinated by Beijing Theology - a heresy whose central doctrine is patriotism– as the church’s supreme faith principle. Religious affairs are actually controlled by the government such that the church is like a government agency although superficially it is a religious organization. Bishop Fu Tieshan, the late chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association who passed away in 2007, was reportedly a member of the Communist Party sent to infiltrate the Catholic Church. He intentionally opposed the Vatican. In the obituary published by China’s Xinhua News Agency, he was referred to as “an extraordinary patriotic religious leader, a well-known social activist and a close friend of the Chinese Communist Party”. Just a few days after the June 4, 1989 massacre, he was the only religious figure who publicly endorsed on TV Deng Xiaoping’s military crackdown on the demonstrators in Beijing and the forcible clearing of Tiananmen Square.

ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu said, “Auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin’s courage, independent spirit and integrity are admirable. This incident makes clear to the world that the ‘three-self’ principle advocated by China’s official church is a fraud because even wholly religious activities of the clergy and church must be approved by the government; otherwise, they will be punished. There is no independence at all. We are deeply concerned about the continuing deterioration in the relationship between China and the Vatican.”
1.    Ma Daqin resigned from the Patriotic Association and restricted in chaplaincy duty; Yue Fusheng was excommunicated by the Vatican (photo)

2. Shanghai’s auxiliary bishop was detained at a monastery

3. News conference of the Chinese Catholic Church “one association and one conference”

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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