Bishop Thaddeus, under house arrest for four years, says he was wrong to criticize the Catholic Patriotic Association
A Chinese bishop who has been at odds with the state since his ordination four years ago has publicly reversed his position, sending shockwaves through China’s Catholic population.
Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, Shanghai’s most senior Catholic bishop, has been under house arrest since dramatically resigning from the government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) during his ordination at St Ignatius’s Cathedral in Shanghai in 2012.
The CPA officially controls the Catholic Church in China, and is not recognised by the Vatican or by many of China’s 12 million Catholics. Bishop Daqin’s resignation from the CPA was met with “thunderous applause”, according to Reuters, and made him into a popular hero among China’s “underground” Catholics.
Since his ordination Bishop Daqin has not been allowed to perform any pastoral ministry or to take over as Bishop of Shanghai when Bishop Jin Luxian died in April 2013. He also reportedly had to attend communist indoctrination classes.
But in a move which the Asian Catholic UCA News said has sent “shockwaves through the Catholic Church in China”, he has now publicly recanted his decision.
In a post on his personal blog last week Bishop Daqin praised the CPA, writing: “For a certain time, I have been deceived by others and [said and] made certain wrong words and deeds about the CPA.”
But Gerard O’Connell at America magazine has cast some doubt on how genuine his recantation might be, citing a source saying the writing style of the blog post is his, but “one part of the text is ‘rather rude’ and quite unlike him”.