Chinese Underground Bishop Arrested

Chinese police have arrested Peter Shao Zhumin, an underground Catholic bishop.

Bishop Shao has refused to join the Chinese state-run Catholic Patriotic Association.

The Chinese government has now placed Father Ma Xianshi, a member of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, as the head of the diocese of Wenzhou.

According to Asia News, police arrested Shao on January 2.

“He was ordered to take clothes for spring, summer, autumn, and winter,” a source told Asia News. “This suggests that his situation is not promising and that he will probably be held for a long time. The faithful are worried because they don’t even know where he will be detained.”

Bishop Shao was arrested following a letter to Fr Ma reading, “I have written to you, expressing my desire to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss solutions to some of the complex problems of the diocese at this time.”

“Your answer was that it was not convenient for you to meet me. So I am writing to ask you to pass on my opinions to my brother priests and to parishioners,” he wrote. “In 2019, without my permission, there was a change in parishes and a transfer of priests from this Church, and the unauthorised downgrading of the Diocese of Lishui to parish status under the Diocese of Wenzhou.

“After four years, I read again about a division of parishes and the transfer of priests (decided by Fr Ma for 6 January) without the bishop’s permission. I wrote to you immediately to ask for a nomination.”

He added, “The same applies to the promotion of seminarians. According to the law of the Church, it is necessary to be ordained personally by the bishop of the diocese or to have power of attorney from him.”

“Pursuant to the Code of Canon Law, anyone who receives holy orders from someone who lacks legitimate power to ordain is automatically suspended.”