Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Olympics done, China back to arresting bishops
China's most prominent "underground" Catholic bishop was arrested on Sunday, August 24: the day that also saw the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was taken into custody by several police officers at Wuqiu cathedral. No immediate reason was given for his arrest, and authorities have not disclosed where the aging bishop is being held.
The 73-year-old Bishop Jia, who heads an active diocese of over 100,000 Catholics in the Hebei diocese, spent 15 years in prison, from 1963 to 1978. Since his release he has been re-arrested at least 12 times; ordinarily he has been detained for a few days of interrogation each time. He has been living under house arrest since 1989.
During the Olympic Games, Chinese Christians had been warned not to organize public worship. About 1,000 Catholics in Zhengding defied those orders to join Bishop Jia for a Mass celebrating the feast of the Assumption at Wuqiu cathedral on August 15. . . .
I'm as happy as anyone about Michael Phelps, Coach K. and the "Redeem Team", etc. But . . . the Olympics-related whitewash given to China by the press, the IOC, by too many governments, and by corporate sponsors is, well, disgusting.