Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the Catholic bishop who was placed under house arrest last year after announcing his resignation from China’s Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), is now being ‘sent to political classes’, according to the BBC. He has not been seen in public for 18 months.
The CPCA renounced the auxiliary’s title last December in response to an ongoing dispute between the state-controlled CPCA and the Vatican over the control of China’s Catholics.
Ma Daqin announced his resignation from the CPCA in July at his ordination mass to a congregation of 1,000 who applauded his announcement. He was not-so-discreetly placed in the Sheshan seminary, where he trained in the outskirts of Shanghai, for a period of ‘personal reflection’.
The BBC reports that the bishop is still at the seminary, where he can obtain permission to come and go, but not to leave the wider Shanghai area.
And, as his followers will know, he’s been allowed to keep his internet blog updated, although most of the postings are simple, biblical quotes that shed little light on his well-being.
But while he may not be shackled to his bed, his enforced “retreat” continues and, after almost 18 months, the authorities have still not finished with him.
Bishop Ma, we learnt, is being sent to political lessons – communist indoctrination by any other name – three times a week.
Not much is known about the ordered lessons at this point, but when the BBC tried to reach out and speak to Bishop Ma, reporters were told “We won’t even pass on your request”.
Bishop Ma was the successor of Msgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian, who died on April 27 this year after a long illness. His religious funeral at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius in Xujiahui was meant to be presided over by Ma, but he was prevented from attending. Joseph Fan Zhong-liang is currently the acting bishop of Shanghai.