Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the Catholic Bishop who was placed under house arrest in 2012 after announcing his resignation from China’s Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), is expected to stay in confinement to continue “repentance and reflection”, UCA News reported, citing Chinese officials.
Back in December, it was reported that the bishop was “being sent to political classes” at a seminary in the outskirts of Shanghai, at which point he hadn’t been seen in public for 18 months.
According to UCA News, Bishop Ma’s priesthood ministry had been suspended for two years, leading his followers to believe that he would be released this year. The same report says that he’s now being held for a third year and will continue attending classes organized jointly by the local diocese, the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department and the Religious Affairs Committee of Shanghai.
A diocese notice claims the classes are meant to provide “a correct understanding” on the independent Church’s relationship with China.
One attendee who spoke anonymously to ucanews.com described the classes as “brainwashing”.
The next class in this session, to be held later this month, will be at the Central Institute of Socialism in Beijing instead of Shanghai. Another source, known only as “Joseph,” told ucanews.com that he suspects the venue change is because the Bejing authorities do not trust those in Shanghai to instill the government message forcefully enough.
In December, BBC reported that the bishop was still at the Sheshan seminary, where he could obtain permission to come and go but was not allowed to leave the wider Shanghai area. When reporters attempted to reach out to Bishop Ma for comment, they were told “We won’t even pass on your request”.