Chinese bishops deported to attend Patriotic Assembly
by W. Zhicheng - Z. Yuan
The gathering, incompatible with the faith of Catholics, aims to elect the Presidents of the Patriotic Association and the Council of Bishops. Some bishops have gone into hiding to avoid having to participate, while others have been taken against their will. The bishop of Hengshui, seized and torn from the safe cover of the faithful, dragged to Beijing.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - AsiaNews sources say that dozens of bishops of the official Church have been forcibly deported to the capital to ensure their participation at the Assembly of representatives of Chinese Catholics, which the pope considers incompatible with Catholic faith.
The Assembly opened today in Beijing on a low profileand is being shrouded in secrecy: it is impossible to contact anyone and not even Xinhua is reporting on the event. The meeting should lead to the election of the national president of the Patriotic Association and president of the council of Chinese bishops, two bodies that are unacceptable to the Catholic Church because they aim to build a separate Church, detached from the pope. "It's just an election of a new round of leadership," said Liu Bainian, vice president and chairman of the PA Assembly. In fact, the gathering is the "sovereign body" of the official Chinese church in which bishops are a minority among Catholics and government representatives. Ecclesial decisions are made on the basis of rigged elections.Ahead of today's meeting, Liu Bainian had sent all participants clear indications of what to do and what to vote.
The Assembly has been postponed for at least four years because the official bishops, in obedience to the Holy See's, have consistently refused to participate.
AsiaNews sources report that many bishops from different provinces, to avoid being dragged to Beijing, have gone into hiding or declared themselves too ill to attend.Others have been taken by government representatives and dragged against their will to the Assembly. Some bishops who knew they could not escape, agreed to come to Beijing, but decided not to celebrate the Assembly masses together, because of the presence of excommunicated bishops.
However the same sources claim that there are bishops who did not oppose any resistance. The Diocese of Beijing, in its newsletter, published two articles in honor of the event.
The most serious and obvious violence occurred in Hengshui (Hebei), where Mgr.Feng Xinmao was seized by about 100 police officers and government representatives, who fought for hours against the faithful and priests who were shielding their bishop in an attempt to ensure his freedom. One faithful was injured in the shoulder during the assault. In recent days, the bishop had been kept in isolation, away from his home. The faithful succeeded in snatching him from police control, to take him back to his residence. After a siege lasting hours, the bishop was again arrested and last night at 20:30, Mgr.Feng Xinmao was dragged to Beijing to attend the meeting. One of the faithful, weeping, as the bishop was escorted away, said: "Our poor bishop has no freedom."
Another prelate, Msgr. Li Lianghui Cangzhou (Hebei) has disappeared to escape the meeting in Beijing.The police has threatened the diocese, that if the bishop does not surrender, he will be hunted throughout the country like "a dangerous criminal."
This Assembly and the forced deportation of bishops cast a dark shadow on relations between China and the Vatican, after years of detente. The situation has precipitated in recent weeks, after the illicit ordination of Fr Guo Jincai Bishop of Chengde, on 20 November. The PA forced eight official bishops to attend the ceremony, against the wishes of the Holy See, which condemned the incident as "a serious violation of religious freedom."
CISA REPORT: Two soldiers have been arrested for the murder of a catholic priest in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The Donostiarra Choir, the most prestigious in Spain, will sing for Pope Benedict XVI at the final Mass for World Youth Day 2011.
The youth event will take place in Madrid, Spain on Aug. 15-21, 2011.
World Youth Day 2011 organizers said the Donostiarra Choir is “an amateur choir,” composed of 185 voices. “Attesting to its greatness is an extensive list of awards that demonstrates it is the most important choir in Spain and one of the best in the world.”
Bishop José Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastián noted that he hopes “the Holy Father will enjoy your performance, as he has a great ear and a highly refined soul. Above all, I hope you lift the hearts of the young people who will participate in this event.”
The General Coordinator of WYD 2011, Auxiliary Bishop Cesar Franco, also expressed his gratitude for the choir’s collaboration. Their participation is an expression of the profound desire for this event to demonstrate “the path of beauty that leads to God," he said.
The choir’s director, Jose Antonio Sainz Alfaro, explained that the repertoire for the two events has not yet been finalized, “but we would like to sing both religious music as well as folklore pieces from different parts of Spain.”
AGENZIA FIDES REPORT–24 VICTIMS FROM THE LANDSLIDE FOUND, BUT 100 ARE STILL MISSING RESCUE AND EMERGENCY WORKERS HAVE FOUND 24 BODIES IN THE RUBBLE AND MUD AFTER A LANDSLIDE BURIED A POOR MEDELLIN SUBURB IN THE COLOMBIAN TOWN OF BELLO. THE GOVERNMENT DECLARED A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE AFFECTED AREA AND THERE ARE ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE STILL MISSING.
The authorities have announced that they will continue as long as weather conditions permit them to, with the rescue operation in search of the inhabitants of Bello missing since Sunday, when the worst tragedy of this rainy season in Colombia hit.
The bodies of 24 dead, among which there are 10 children, were found at different times and burials are expected to begin as soon as possible in this small town on the outskirts of Medellin (in north-west Colombia).
The tragedy was caused by the landslide that swept away about forty homes in the neighbourhood of La Gabriela. In latest reports, the Risk Direction of the Ministry of Interior and Justice, said that due to the rains 194 people have been killed in Colombia so far, 248 are injured and 143 missing. In total there are about 1.6 million people who have lost their homes (about 330,429 families) in 28 of the 32 Colombian areas affected by the worst rains in decades in Colombia. The government also reported that total losses from this natural disaster could reach over one billion dollars.
This humanitarian tragedy, which is unprecedented in Colombia, could leave about two million homeless, equivalent to 4.3 percent of the population, President Juan Manuel Santos warned.
Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo of Medellin has called for solidarity with all Colombians, and he said in an interview with the agency Aciprensa that “these events are induced in part because the farmers who lived there were displaced from their own lands due to violence and had to settle in the place they found, although geologically unstable, a place where there was no assistance for regular urban development.”
Feast: December 7
BISHOP, CONFESSOR, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: December 7