Chinese bishop detained briefly during Holy Week

Hong Kong — A Chinese bishop was taken away by authorities but was back home the next day, according to a news report.

The Rome-based missionary news agency AsiaNews reported that Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong was taken from his home March 26. A source said authorities did not want Guo, 59, to celebrate the chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 29, because the Mass with all the diocese's priests would highlight his episcopacy.

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Ucanews.com reported on the story from AsiaNews, which said their source noted that authorities were more civilized than on previous occasions and were prepared to hold discussions.

According to AsiaNews, Guo received a call from his local Administration for Religious Affairs March 26 asking to meet him at his office.

After talks were held for at least two hours, the bishop returned to his home at 7 p.m. to pack his luggage and was take away at 10 p.m. The priest who serves as the bishop's secretary was also taken away.

Last year, just before Easter, Guo was also taken away and did not return until 20 days later, ucanews.com reported. He was unable to celebrate his first chrism Mass and was forced to participate in a "brainwashing" class.

Guo is the bishop of the underground church of Mindong Diocese. He was approved by the Vatican but not recognized by the Chinese government.

It was rumored recently that the Vatican would sign an agreement with China to request Guo to step down to be an auxiliary bishop, giving way to an illicit bishop, Bishop Zhan Silu of Mindong. Zhan is recognized by the Chinese government but not approved by the Vatican. Sources say Zhan would have to pledge his allegiance to the Vatican and seek forgiveness for his illicit ordination before he could be recognized.

Guo promised to step down, saying that "we can only obey the pope's decision."


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