December 21, 2004


Another test of faith for China's hidden bishop (Damien McElroy, 19/12/2004m, Daily Telegraph)

Bishop Julius Jia comes rushing through the lacquered rosewood door dressed like a Chinese peasant, his blue cotton Mao suit topped with a navy sailor's cap.

The country's leading "underground" bishop has been flouting a ban on visiting members of his congregation and his disguise is vital for his safety.

Only when the elderly leader of hundreds of thousands of persecuted Chinese Catholics, who must worship in secret, pulls his bishop's ring from his pocket and slips it onto his finger is he transformed into a religious figure.

Christmas is coming - a season of celebration for most Roman Catholics but a time of even greater danger for Bishop Jia, who has been detained by the Chinese authorities on more than 30 occasions and spent more than 20 years in jail.

His refusal to join Beijing's official Catholic church, which does not recognise the Pope, makes him a prime target of their anger.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2004 11:33 PM

This is exactly why JPII needs to retire and be replaced by a younger more vital guy. These heroes of the Church in China should be visited by the Pope by any means necessary.

Posted by: JimGooding at December 22, 2004 9:53 AM