Cardinal Tong Praises Shanghai Bishop's Courage After Reports of Detainment

Hong Kong Prelate Urges Dialogue Between China and the Holy See

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GUANGZHOU, Hong Kong, JULY 17, 2012 ( Cardinal John Tong Hon, archbishop of Guangzhou in Hong Kong, criticized Chinese authorities for their involvement in Church matters, following reports that Auxiliary Bishop Ma Daqin of Shanghai is under investigation after his ordination.  

Several news agencies have reported that Bishop Daqin was detained shortly after his ordination, when he announced during his homily that he was resigning from China’s state-sanctioned Patriotic Catholic Association (PCA). Chinese officials have reportedly since kept Bishop Ma from his episcopal ministry. 

In an interview with the Asian Catholic news agency, UCA News, Cardinal Tong decried the Chinese government’s involvement in ordinations, saying that Church matters are neither economic nor political in nature. He also stressed the urgency for dialogue between the Catholic Church and China. 

«Dialogue between China and the Vatican is a must. It is very urgent now to resolve the dramatic case of Bishop Ma Daqin,» Cardinal John Tong Hon said. «Only with dialogue will a ‘win-win’ result eventually be achieved.»

The Chinese prelate said he «appreciated Bishop Ma’s courage» in publicly resigning from the state-sanctioned church and said that the Shanghai bishop’s ordination had brought the faithful from both the official church and the underground Church closer together. 

Cardinal Tong also commented to UCA News on the ordination of Father Joseph Yue Fusheng, who was ordained as bishop of Harbin without a papal mandate. «Illicit bishops have become isolated as Catholics are staying away from them. There is no point in proceeding with illicit ordinations,» Cardinal Tong said.

«We also heard that in Chinese ordinations some participating bishops were rewarded with money and other goods. It seems to me that this amounts to cases of corruption.»

This is the second time in a week that two Hong Kong cardinals expressed their concern over the situation of the Church in China.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, along with the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission demonstrated in front of the central government’s Liaison Office on Wednesday demanding freedom of movement for Bishop Ma and other clergy.

The commission is mobilizing Catholics to recite the rosary in front of the Liaison Office and a Mass to pray for religious freedom in China on Monday.

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