"New bishop" of Shanghai goes missing

Featured - July 10th, 2012
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A Chinese bishop is missing after quitting the state-run Catholic body, and is caught between China and the Vatican in their dispute over authority to ordain priests, AFP reports.

Thaddeus Ma Daqin was newly ordained as auxiliary bishop of Shanghai a day after China’s state-run Catholic church ordained its own bishop. The Holy See protested that the ordination of Father Yue Fusheng was “rude and unreasonable”, escalating tension between China and the Vatican.

Ma renounced his membership from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) because of his new responsibilities, which was applauded by his congregation, according to South China Morning post. Authorities, however, banned Ma from performing any religious duties, according to AFP. Ma has not been seen since what was supposed to be his first mass as bishop.

Reports suggested that priests and nuns in Shanghai received a text message from the bishop saying he was on a personal retreat because he was “mentally and physically exhausted”.

China severed ties with the Vatican after it recognized the Nationalist Chinese government in Taiwan. The incident underlines the remaining tensions, particularly in ordaining priests.