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Uneducable priests

HONG KONG (SE): Three priests from the unofficial Church community in Mindong in eastern China were detained on May 6, the same day that the leader of their diocese, Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin, was released after one month in detention.
 
UCAN reported that Father Zhu Ruci, Father Xu Wenmin and Father Peng Zhenshen, the vicar general, chancellor and procurator of the diocese, were summoned to attend a learning class to brush up on their understanding of religious regulations on the same day Bishop Guo returned to Luojiang village after completing his 20-day course.
 
The three priests were supposed to attend a 10-day updating in-service, courtesy of the national government. 
 
However, they proved to be unsuitable for educational purposes, as they could not be taught, and were expelled from the course after only three days.
 
“The brainwashing class was meant to run for 10 days, but the three priests returned after three days because officials found them too stubborn,” a local Church person said.
 
Officials had earlier informed the diocese that Bishop Guo, who is not recognised by the government, but is regarded by the Vatican as the bishop of both the unofficial and official communities, was taken away just before the beginning of Holy Week ceremonies.
 
“The bishop was placed in a location usually reserved for government officials under shuanggui (the Communist Party’s internal discipline process).
 
Two security officers were stationed outside his room at all times, while three others slept in the room with him,” he reported.
 
The shuanggui process is designed to make tainted government officials confess at a designated time and location about their wrongdoings.
 
“The environment is created to make you collapse psychologically. We heard that most corrupt officials confess within three days and the longest duration has only been seven days,” the person said.
 
“However, it is ineffective on religious people like Bishop Guo, who consider it a retreat,” he commented.
 
Fujian, which has a Catholic population of 370,000, is a stronghold of the unofficial community.
 
The vast majority of the estimated 80,000 Catholics in Mindong belong to the unofficial community, which is served by about 50 priests and over 100 sisters.
 
The official Church community, which only has a membership of a few thousand, is led by Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu, one of seven government-appointed bishops whose case China and the Vatican would like to settle in the current negotiations.
 
However, the Vatican has baulked at recognising him, possibly because it has already recognised Bishop Guo as the overall bishop of both communities.
 
Bishop Zhan played host to Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, from Shanghai, on Easter Sunday, formerly addressing him as Bishop Ma.
 
It is the first time a government person has used this title in referring to the birdcage bishop since he was put under house arrest after his ordination in 2012.
 
Bishop Zhan seems to be regarded as a difficult case to rehabilitate by the Vatican and reports also indicate that he has been disruptive in his influence in the Church in the area.
 
The government considers the unofficial Church community an illegal religious group and continually tries to get people who adhere to the unofficial communities to join its approved version of the Catholic Church.

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