CNA Staff, Jun 22, 2020 / 10:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Chinese officials reportedly arrested an elderly bishop of the underground Catholic Church last week.
Coadjutor Bishop Augustine Cui Tai of Xuanhua, 70 years old, was taken by Chinese officials to an undisclosed location according to local Catholics, UCA News reported on Sunday. Bishop Cui has been under house arrest since 2007.
During his period of house arrest, Bishop Cui has been periodically detained and released by authorities including an arrest in March of 2019 by Heibei province officials. He was released in January of 2020, and reportedly arrested again on June 19.
Cui was ordained a bishop in 2013, since then he has served as coadjutor to Bishop Thomas Zhao Duomo of Xuanhua, who is 96 years old. According to a 2019 report by AsiaNews, Cui has been repeatedly detained, and spent periods in forced labor camps, for engaging in evangelization activities without government authorization. He has also spoken out against the state-sponsored Catholic Church in China, saying it is building a Church “independent” of the Holy See.
The news of Bishop Cui’s arrest comes as the 2018 Vatican-China agreement on the ordination of bishops is set to expire in September. The Vatican reportedly hoped the agreement would help unify the underground Catholic Church in China—which had remained in full communion with the Holy See—and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association which was the state-sponsored Church.