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Bishop detained for study sessions

Tianshui (UCAN): Bishop John Wang Ruowang of Tianshui, along with some of his priests have been forced to attend so-called study sessions since the end of 2011, according to Church sources.

The 50-year-old bishop of the unofficial Church community, who was clandestinely ordained with a papal mandate last year, was initially taken from Taijing on December 30 by officials to a guesthouse in Tianshui city, northern Gansu province.

“He is safe and sound. His mindset is positive,” said one of the sources, who added that the Bishop Wang could be reached via his mobile phone.

When contacted, the bishop said he was undergoing “education and conversion classes.” He expected that all priests from the unofficial community in Tianshui would have to attend at separate times.

Since January 4, seven diocesan priests have been taken away to for this purpose, although two have since been released to continue studying at home.

The sources said this latest incident was the second mass detention of clergy following one in August 2011. They believe they are related to Bishop Wang’s secret ordination as the ordinary for the Tianshui diocese.

Pope Benedict XVI also appointed Father Bosco Zhao Jianzhang, who is in charge of the diocese’s official community, as coadjutor bishop last year. His ordination is yet to take place.

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