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Chinese Undergound Bishop Arrested, Pope’s Letter Suppressed

By August 24, 2007December 2nd, 2022Fra Roderic Mary, News, Politics, Religious Liberty

Catholic World News, in an article entitled Chinese bishop arrested: to silence Pope’s message reports that on Thursday, August 23, 2007, after days of surveillance, Jia Zhiguo, the prominent underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, was arrested, and many of the faithful were interrogated by police. The apparent reason was the bishop’s attempts at trying to promulgate the Pope’s letter to the Chinese Catholics.

… Bishop Jia was preparing his own pastoral letter to accompany the release of the Pope’s message to the Chinese Church. The bishop had been repeatedly warned by Chinese officials that he should not distribute the Pope’s message. That papal message rejected the authority of the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association.

That the Chinese government does not want the letter promulgated is corroborated by the Cardinal Kung Foundation.

Since the release of the China letter by His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV, Bishop Jia was told several times by the religious bureau that he was not allowed to publicly support and promulgate the Pope’s China letter. We do not know for sure whether this order has anything to do with the bishop’s arrest this time.

That this was the reason, or only reason, for his arrest is not known for certain. Nor is his current location.

What is most interesting is that the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association or CPCA is apparently more vigorously opposing the promulgation of the letter than the Chinese government. Asia News writes:

Unlike the CPCA the Chinese government’s response has been quite muted. The CPCA has instead blocked sites that contain the letter and prohibited its dissemination. It also had some priests arrested and made their detention even harsher than usual. AsiaNews sources are aware of at least 11 priests arrested in various regions of China.

What about all this talk that the letter is somehow an endorsement of the CPCA? Seems the CPCA has a different opinion. And it does not say much for the good intentions of the CPCA. It seems they are far more patriotic than Catholic. The same article says:

The CPCA seal was placed on the entrance to Mgr Jia’s residence and to the building he and members of his congregation use for meetings, a clear sign that his arrest was “anti-papal” in intent.

It seems the Patriotic Church is not only in cahoots with the Chinese Secret Service but is doing their dirty work for them!!! Or maybe there just is not much difference between the CPCA and the Government in the first place.

Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, finishes with:

“It is apparent that the aforementioned actions by the Chinese government is not only contrary to the spirit of the China letter issued by the Pope almost two months ago, but also contrary to the generally accepted principles of human rights and to the spirits of the Olympic games. The freedom-loving and powerful countries of the world should take into greater consideration – consistently, and persistently, and not haphazardly – all human rights violations in China when forming and implementing their political and commercial decisions in relation to China. Does a country [which] consistently violate the most basic human rights deserve to be the host of 2008 Olympic Games?”

A US boycott of the Games would certainly send a message.

Ave Maria!


Author apostolate

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Intermaso says:

    Are you suggesting that the open church bishops recognized by Rome as de jure, and the priests who have been ordained by those bishops, are “in cahoots with the Chinese secret service” and “doing their dirty work for them”?

    If you really understand so much about the Chinese Church, demonstrate your knowledge by explaining this passage – both faculties revoked and the net effect of the revokation:

    “Considering in the first place some positive developments of the situation of the Church in China, and in the second place the increased opportunities and greater ease in communication, and finally the requests sent to Rome by various Bishops and priests, I hereby revoke all the faculties previously granted in order to address particular pastoral necessities that emerged in truly difficult times.

    Let the same be applied to all directives of a pastoral nature, past and recent. The doctrinal principles that inspired them now find a new application in the directives contained herein.”

  • apostolate says:


    I don’t claim to know everything. I just read the news article and commented on it. From that article I will stand by my quote “It seems the Patriotic Church is not only in cahoots with the Chinese Secret Service but is doing their dirty work for them!!!” I did not say ‘they are,’ I only said ‘it seems.’

    Okay, I will concede that my wording is a bit harsh and a bit open ended. If I implied any individual bishops are responsible I apologize. This I did not say nor intend to assert. But in general it does seem CPCA are in cahoots with some awfully bad characters. If I am mistaken, show me where.

    Certainly the CPCA is doing the dirty work for the government, at least according to the article. Is there a real distinction between the CPCA and the Patriotic Church? Does not the CPCA appoint the bishops and pay their salaries? I will wait for your response. At any rate, from the article it does seem to me the Patriotic Church is … in cahoots.

    Fra Roderic

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  • Paul Xavier says:

    The actions of the CPCA seem to point them out as collaborators with the Chinese Government. Could it be that the Government is using the Patriotic Church as their instrument so as not to get themselves fully involved in the situation?

    Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (Chinese: ????????, pinyin: Zh??ngguó Ti??nzh?jiào Àiguó Huì), abbreviated CPA, CPCA, or CCPA, is a division, established in 1957, of the People’s Republic of China’s Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China’s Catholics. In his encyclical Ad Apostolorum Principis of 29 July 1958, Pope Pius XII deplored the attitude and activities of the Association and declared the bishops who participated in consecrating new bishops selected by the Association to be excommunicated.


    This article from Wikipedia states that the CPCA WAS created by The People’s Republic of China’s Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China’s Catholics. So it wouldn’t be very surprising if they were indeed working for the Chinese Secret Service.

  • Intermaso says:

    Paul Xavier –

    A couple of points.

    First, as a general rule, it’s never a good idea to cite Wikipedia on important matters of fact. It’s often wrong, and when it’s wrong, it’s wrong because a partisan is using it.

    Second, the wikipedia passage that you cite is incorrect. The July 28, 1958 encyclical of Pope Pius XII did not excommunicate anyone. That’s verifiable fact, and I believe that you can find the encyclical on the Vatican’s website. Instead, what it says is that the Vatican reserves the right to excommunicate, and the bishops are certainly subject to excommunication. But none of the illicitly consecrated bishops in China, dating back to 1958, has ever been excommunicated. Not one.

    And, in fact, not only have most of them NOT been excommunicated, but the vast majority of illicitly consecrated Chinese bishops have been reconciled with Rome, and are in communion with the Pope. There are many public examples of this, but perhaps the most significant was Bishop Dong Guangqing of Wuhan, one of the first two Chinese bishops ordained illicitly. He was reconciled with John Paul in 1984. You can learn about this bishop’s life from his recent obituary, written by the Union of Catholic Asian News:

    The Chinese Church is complicated, and it deserves a more sympathetic hearing from the Catholic on this blog. Suggesting connections to the Chinese secret police and collaboration shows a vast ignorance about the actual situation on the ground in China.

  • apostolate says:


    I can see the merits in trying to smooth over past difficulties with the Chinese government, bringing CPCA bishops into full union with the Pope and trying to negotiate some sort of concordat. I think this is the very noble intent of the Pope’s letter. But it is this very letter, which was so conciliatory to the CPCA, that is being suppressed and by the very same CPCA! What past popes have said on the status of the CPCA and the number of bishops who have been reconciled is all very interesting and, as you say, “complicated,??? but the central point of my above post is really quite simple and based on facts all backed by quotes from respected sources along with some simple logic:

    1. The CPCA has more vigorously opposed the pope’s letter than the Chinese Government.

    2. The CPCA has blocked sites that contain the letter.

    3. The CPCA has prohibited its dissemination.

    4. The CPCA has had some priests arrested.

    5. The CPCA has made their detention even harsher than usual.

    6. Since the CPCA could not do any of this without the help of the secret police, then the CPCA is connected with the secret police.

    7. Given the above facts, the alternative to saying that the CPCA is connected with the Chinese secret police is to say that the CPCA is worse than the secret police because the CPCA did these dirty deeds all on their own and so the secret police would be innocent. Take your choice.

    These are the facts and my logic. As I said, simple. If you can refute either the facts or the logic I would love to hear from you. If not, I see no point in continuing this thread. Vague hand waves that it is somehow “ignorant??? to suggest a connection to the secret police just does not cut it. Produce some facts. Remember, real Christians are suffering real persecution, do show some respect.

    Ave Maria!

  • Paul Xavier says:

    Generally, I was just citing the fact that the People’s Republic of China’s Religious Affairs Bureau did create the CPCA.

  • Intermaso says:

    Apostolate –

    What you don’t seem to understand is that the Catholic Patriotic Association is distinct from the Open Church. Priests belonging to the open church no longer need to register with the CPA. Neither do laity or religious sisters. Of course, there are provinces where the local government persecutes on this basis. But it is not universal, and it is not part of the national religious laws.

    So let me repeat: CPA does not equal the Open Church. Got it, yet?

    I am no defender of those laws. And, unlike you, I worship in an open church, with an open church priest, presided over by an open church bishop. So, unless you are suggesting that I am not a real Christian, I suggest that you show ME some real respect.

    Ave Maria.

  • apostolate says:

    Ave Maria!

    Thanks, Paul, for your support. Yes the CPCA was started by the Chinese government and this definitely indicates a government connection.

    Ave Maria!

  • apostolate says:


    You say:

    What you don’t seem to understand is that the Catholic Patriotic Association is distinct from the Open Church. …

    So let me repeat: CPA does not equal the Open Church. Got it, yet?

    Easy, easy, Intermaso, I got it. If by ‘Open Church’ you mean the Catholics in the pews as distinct from the Patriotic Church which is the CPCA then yes I am well aware of the distinction. Even Wikipedia that you say is so biased against you will support the fact that those attending the Patriotic Church services are not to be identified with the Patriotic Church. Wikipedia referring to the CPCA:

    It is the only organizational body of Catholics in China as officially recognized by the government of the People’s Republic of China, but is not to be identified with the Chinese Roman Catholics who accept its directives.

    You say:

    Priests belonging to the open church no longer need to register with the CPA. Neither do laity or religious sisters.

    Wow, it’s so nice of the benevolent Chinese Government to allow such broad freedom. It makes my heart go pitter patter. But you conveniently forget to mention Bishops. And this is my point, the Catholics in the pews are in good standing not based on whether or not they are members of the Patriotic Church i.e. the CPCA, nor based on ‘membership’ in the even vaguer ‘Open Church’ but, rather, they are in good standing because they are Roman Catholics who, as is permitted by the Pope in face of such crushing persecution, are attending services of validly ordained Patriotic Church bishops. What makes them in union with Rome is that they are members of the Roman Catholic Church started by Jesus Christ. The CPCA or Patriotic Church is created by the Chinese Government as a means of controlling the Catholic Church in China and in opposition to Rome and the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ and so, of course, it is distinct.

    But it is the CPCA that is quite simply the Patriotic Church and it is this organization, whom ever they may be (whether bishops or bishops combined with government officials I know not ) who are persecuting the underground Church (and which Bishops may or may not be guilty I do not know) and precisely for trying to promulgate the very reasonable and conciliatory letter of the Pope. For all the concessions that Pope Benedict made by publishing this gesture of reconciliation he deserves better treatment than a series of insults and more persecution of his most loyal Bishops. I think it is a disgrace! The true nature of the CPCA and the Chinese Government has bean made fully manifest.

    And for you to be quoting the worn out, empty propaganda of the Chinese Government that it does not have laws that persecute religion and how much freedom of religion there is in China simply adds insult to injury! This is what I mean by respect. Not to me, but to the suffering Catholics.

    This is the end of this thread!

    Deo Gratias!

  • apostolate says:

    Ave Maria!

    I just want to confirm that this thread is closed. Another comment was added after I had announced that the thread is closed. He used the same argumentation already stated by Intermaso, ignored all the rebuttals as well as the concessions I made and made many unsubstantiated accusations that where, shall we say, less than helpful. So I deleted it. The comments are currently turned off on this post.

    However, since his only proof of all these was simply that I used Wikipedia which he thought was stupid and since I happen to have already done the research in regard to the article on Wikipedia that Paul Xavier and I mentioned I thought I would post it.

    Actually, Paul, you will be happy to know that the article in Wikipedia is quite right on the point you mentioned that the bishops that were illicitly ordained were in fact excommunicated but in the automatic sense not mentioning specific names and thus they all had to be reinstated. For this citation the article cites the Vatican document Ad Apostolorum Principis Par 48 referring to ordination of Chinese bishops not confirmed by the Holy See

    48. Consequently, if consecration of this kind is being done contrary to all right and law, and by this crime the unity of the Church is being seriously attacked, an excommunication reserved specialissimo modo to the Apostolic See has been established which is automatically incurred by the consecrator and by anyone who has received consecration irresponsibly conferred.

    Kudos to Wikipedia and their fact based documentation. It greatly helps to do all this fact checking.

    Ave Maria.