HONG KONG, Tuesday
A newly ordained Chinese bishop has not been seen since he quit the state-sanctioned Catholic association on the weekend, amid new tensions between Beijing and the Vatican, reports said on Tuesday.
Thaddeus Ma Daqin announced his split from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) during the mass at his ordination as auxiliary bishop of Shanghai on Saturday, according to Hong Kong and Catholic media.
He told the 1,000-strong congregation that due to his new responsibilities he could no longer be a member of the CPCA, drawing loud applause from the assembly, the South China Morning Post reported.
Ma was vice-chair of the association’s Shanghai branch and was a member of its national standing committee, the report said.
Ordained with the approval of the Vatican and Beijing, he was the first mainland bishop to renounce his membership of the state-run Catholic body.
The authorities immediately banned him from performing any religious duties and he did not attend his first mass as bishop on Sunday.
“I’m worried about the safety of Bishop Ma and I will pray for him,” the Post quoted one member of the congregation as saying.
Catholic news service ucanews.com reported that Bishop Ma had sent a text message to priests and nuns in Shanghai saying he was “mentally and physically exhausted”. (AFP)