NY Times: “In a sign of rising tensions between the Vatican and China, authorities in recent days have ordained one Catholic bishop without Rome’s consent and detained another after he made a dramatic break with the country’s Communist-run religious hierarchy.
On Friday, government officials organized the consecration of the Rev. Joseph Yue Fusheng as bishop in the northern city of Harbin. Bishop Yue’s nomination had not been approved by the Vatican, and reports said bishops loyal to the Vatican were forced to participate — a common practice meant to give Beijing-appointed bishops legitimacy in the eyes of local believers. The Vatican immediately excommunicated him.
Then, on Saturday in Shanghai, the most important city for China’s Catholics, the Rev. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, a man widely seen as acceptable to both Beijing and Rome, was consecrated as auxiliary bishop, which would put him in line to succeed Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, 95, who had been approved by both Beijing and Rome.
But Bishop Ma stunned hundreds of worshipers in the city’s Cathedral of St. Ignatius by announcing that he would no longer work for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the government-run body that oversees Catholics in China.
“In the light of the teaching of our mother church, as I now serve as a bishop, I should focus on pastoral work and evangelization,” Bishop Ma told the crowded church. “Therefore, from this day of consecration, it will no longer be convenient for me to be a member of the patriotic association.”
The announcement, captured on video and posted on foreign and Chinese Web sites, was met with sustained applause from the congregation.
Bishop Ma’s fate is unclear. Catholic Church members in Shanghai said he did not lead Mass on Sunday as scheduled. They say he was taken away after the service and is being held at the Sheshan Catholic seminary, on the outskirts of Shanghai.”
In terms of reform and liberalisation and so forth, China often takes two steps forward and one step back. This series of confrontations with the Vatican can be seen by many to be one of its backward steps.
See also: Chinese Christians