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One of first secretly ordained bishops dies

HONG KONG (UCAN): Bishop Casimir Wang Milu, from Tianshui in the northwest of China, suffered a stroke and later contracted pneumonia in hospital where he died on February 14 at the age of 74.

The bishop from the unofficial community of the Church was not recognised by the Chinese government. He had been hospitalised since early January, but his condition continued to deteriorate. His funeral took place on February 18.

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Downgraded bishop takes back his old jobs

SHANGHAI (UCAN): Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who has been under house arrest in Sheshen Seminary near Shanghai since he called the bluff of the government at his ordination in July 2012, has taken up two jobs in the same Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association that he quit.

Bishop Ma accepted the two positions as a member of the standing committee in the Patriotic Association of Shanghai at a joint meeting of the association and the Church Affairs Commission of Shanghai on January 20.

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Mixing sand with rice

HONG KONG (UCAN): In recent years, whenever a government-backed bishop not approved by the Vatican appears at an episcopal ordination along with Vatican-approved bishops, Chinese Catholics mock it with the saying “mixing sand with rice.”

A priest writing under the name of Father Peter Peng, who describes himself as an observer in northern China, said that the first time he heard the phrase was from the late Father Yan Wenda in 1984.

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A reminder of who is in charge

HONG KONG (SE): The relatively peaceful and unhindered ordination of Bishop Peter Ding Lingbin in Changzhi, Shanxi province, on November 10, led to much hype over the current round of meetings between the Vatican and Beijing in promoting relations between the Church in China and the government.

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A disobedience of faith

HONG KONG (SE): A maverick priest from the unofficial Church community in Zhengding in Hebei, Father Paul Dong Guanhua (see page 12), claims that in engineering his own ordination as a bishop he is modelling himself on Bishop Joseph Fan Xueyan, the first bishop in China to ordain another clandestinely without a specific mandate from the Vatican (1981).

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Catholic demographics in China prompt new questions

HONG KONG (SE): In the 1980s and 1990s the Church in China had arguably the fastest growing membership on any country in the world, outstripping on a percentage basis even the monumental growth being experienced on the African continent.

However, Anthony Lam Sui-ki, from the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong, says that this growth has plateaued in recent years and that the now, the Church is struggling to replace its natural attrition, apart from leakage to various sects and quasi-religious groups.

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Official Church facing authenticity crisis

HONG KONG (UCAN): St. Joseph’s Church in Beijing towers over busy Wangfujing Street, not far from Tiananmen Square. 

On an uncharacteristically humid afternoon in July this year, the courtyard is abandoned, save for three men sleeping on benches.

The church doors are shuttered, but not locked. Outside the main gate, another four homeless people take refuge from the pounding sun and suffocatingly humid air. But inside, there’s not a soul.

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Ignorance makes Church its own worst enemy

HONG KONG (SE): Churches must share some of the blame for the widespread anti-religious feeling that many in Chinese society hold against them, a pastor in Xiamen told the Gospel Times, as what he calls an anti-intellectualism is common in some Churches that leaves people thinking that the Church is silly.

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Tweaking Church teaching with Chinese characteristics

CHONGQING (UCAN): A conference was held in July this year involving the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China at which each seminary on the mainland was required to present a paper explaining how the recommendations of the Central Disciplinary Committee of the Communist Party, published subsequent to its inspection of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, are being implemented.

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Government show in Beijing trumps Church show in Shanghai

HONG KONG (UCAN): The State Administration for Religious Affairs hosted a five-day workshop at a training centre in Beijing on the instructions of the central government as a commemoration of the centennial of the birth of the former bishop of Shanghai, the late Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian.

Five Church representatives from each province were chosen to attend the five-day gathering, which participants said was running from June 20 to 24.

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