China has revoked the title of a new Catholic bishop in Shanghai who outraged Chinese officials by immediately dropping out of the government agency that oversees the country’s officially sanctioned church, religious officials said Wednesday.
Ma Daqin, who was jointly named for the post in a rare consensus between Beijing and the Vatican, has been confined to a seminary since he announced his intention to drop out of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in front of a congregation during his July 7 ordination as auxiliary bishop.
The move by Ma, 44, was seen as challenging China’s attempts to run the country’s Catholic church independently of the Vatican.
A Shanghai church official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the decision by Chinese officials to revoke Ma’s title was announced at an internal meeting this week. He said no reason was given for the revocation.
The Rev. Jeroom Heyndrickx, of Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven, and the Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor-in-chief of AsiaNews, said Chinese colleagues had informed them of the development earlier this week.
The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Shanghai Diocese declined to comment.