Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, published a communiqué last Friday in response to a Nov. 23 attack against the Franciscan missionary nuns and the Nov. 18 arrest of the priests in Hebei province.
“News agencies have recently reported on two regrettable incidents, suffered respectively by the Franciscan Sisters of Xian and by six priests in the Diocese of Zhengding,” said the Vatican statement. “Though it is not possible to verify these incidents in terms of the exact extent of circumstances, reports of them are, nevertheless, the source of grief and disapproval.
“The violence committed in Xian against several defenseless nuns can only be firmly condemned.”
“The detainment of the six priests of Zhengding, as with previous cases involving various priests in other locations, is the cause of serious concern,” the communiqué added. “As on previous occasions, the reasons for the coercive measures taken against them are unknown.”