A bishop who has refused to join the state-run Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) has been made homeless after being evicted by the local authorities.
Bishop Vincenzo Guo Xijin, former the Bishop of Mindong, was told to leave along with the priests who work for him. Electricity and water was cut off to the building.
Why was it under-reported?
As with all news that comes out of the Chinese Church, few journalists are close to the ground, and it is a brave source who will talk to the media. In this case the story was broken by the reliable Asia News, the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.
The officials claimed that “fire safety standards” were the real reason for the eviction. But Asia News pointed out that it had passed previous safety tests, and that the only parishes which had “failed” fire safety tests were ones which the authorities dislike.
What will happen next?
The Catholics of the area are holding prayer vigils in the church. Many, according to Asia News, are strongly critical of Bishop Zhan Silu. He continues to ask priests to join the CPA. Reportedly, 20 out of 57 do not want to sign, saying that the state will only use their membership to step up persecution of the Church.
The government began the year by issuing new guidelines on how religions must adopt national values such as “socialism”, putting these above the religions’ own doctrines where necessary.