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Bishop Ma speaks from his cage in Shanghai

SHANGHAI (SE): Maybe more significant for the fact that it has been released and is available on the Internet, at least outside China, than for its content, Fides has published reflections on Pope Francis’ first encyclical, The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei), written by the out-of-circulation Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin.

Fides received the text from Bishop Ma on October 8 and quotes him as saying, “Faith is the happiness that God has given us.”

Bishop Ma, who has been detained at the seminary in Sheshan on the outskirts of Shanghai and forbidden to practice his ministry as a bishop or priest in public since his ordination in Shanghai on July 7 last year, also says that he truly appreciates this latest encyclical because of its heavy emphasis on inculturation.

He points to the beauty of Pope Francis’ message, which he says is expressed in language that stresses that the gospel can live and inspire in every culture in the world.

“In this life, faith in Christ Our Lord is the best wish,” Bishop Ma is quoted as saying, calling it the song of the Catholic people of China.

“Faith,” Bishop Ma writes from the cage of his house arrest, is a gift of the Spirit. “It illuminates the path of life, and even more it is the way of God, a way of life and light where Christ is the tender and safe guide.”

He goes on to describe it as a lamp that not only illuminates the path, but sustains us in times of deep sadness, giving us courage and reason for living.

“We must be like Christ, be faithful and true witnesses, not only with words, but also with deeds,” he concludes.

The future of Bishop Ma has been speculated upon in many quarters, but foreign journalists who have been able to visit him at Sheshan recently say that he looks to be in good health and says that he is looking forward to taking up his duties as bishop of Shanghai soon.


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