04/07/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – A parish priest who refused to join China’s state-vetted Catholic church, has disappeared in police custody last Friday.
Asia News reports that on April 3, security forces picked Father Huang Jintong up and took him to an unknown location. A few hours later, Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin, underground bishop of Mindong, received a call from public security advising him to prepare clothes for Fr. Huang because he won’t be able to come home for a month.
Fr. Huang is one of the 20 priests who refuse to sign membership to the communist party’s sanctioned Catholic Church. His disappearance most likely means that he will go through political “re-education” and brainwashing sessions to solicit his agreement.
After the signing of a provisional agreement between the Vatican and China in October 2018, Beijing began to target the underground Catholics and required each priest to sign a document with which they adhere to the state-sanctioned Church, terminating relations with foreigners, halting religious education to young people under the age of 18, and limiting religious activities to within the narrow confines of churches.
Many refuse to cooperate, as signing such document signifies a betrayal to the Pope and the universal Church. Their freedom to worship would also be interfered by party ideologies. But their reluctance comes with a price. Since late last year, at least six parishes of renitent parish priests have been closed. The parish of Fr. Huang, Saiqi is among the largest and has around 5,000 faithful.
Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin of Mindong agreed to be demoted to auxiliary bishop in order to allow Msgr. Zhan Silu, a state-approved bishop from whom the pontiff – as part of the Oct 2018 deal – lifted excommunication, to take over his position. Yet the government continues to go after him.
On January 15, the Religious Affairs official gave him an eviction order from the bishop and clergy house in Luojiang. They only reneged on their original plan in fear of bad publicity. Instead they cut off water, electricity and gas supplies for Msgr. Guo’s residence.
Now, daily Msgr. Guo has to fetch water from an outdoor tap carrying it to the fifth floor where his room is located, which serves as a place of prayer and study.
Whenever he goes down to the ground floor of the building, he does not forget to bless the CCTV cameras installed to monitor him. This way he blesses his controllers.
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