CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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The whereabouts of Wenzhou bishop remain a mystery

WENZHOU (SE): Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin is still being held at an unknown location after he was told to report to police in the city of Wenzhou on May 18.
 
This is regarded as an extraordinarily long detention by parishioners in Wenzhou.
 
However, in a message sent to AsiaNews one said that the bishop has been a positive influence in recent moves to heal the divide between the official and unofficial communities in Wenzhou, something that the government does not want, as it works hard at creating division between the official and official communities.
 
“The local government does everything it can to keep us divided,” the message said.
 
The Catholic population of Wenzhou is estimated at around 210,000, about 80,000 of which identifies with the unofficial community. Bishop Shao comes out of the unofficial community and, consequently, is not recognised by the government, but has been appointed by the Holy See as the rightful bishop of both communities.
 
Local Catholics from the official community in Wenzhou say that they are happy to accept him as their bishop, a role he moved into upon the death of Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang on September 7 last year.
 
As his coadjutor, Bishop Shao had right of succession, but unlike his predecessor, he has not found favour with the local government.
 
He was taken away in April just prior to Easter and so was prevented from spending his first Easter as the bishop with the people.
 
Apart from one request to bring him some wine so that he could celebrate Mass, nothing has been heard from or about him since he was taken into custody.

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