Rome, Italy, Apr 14, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Underground Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, from the Diocese of Zhengding, was released at 1.30 p.m. on April 14, sources in Beijing told the Rome-based Catholic News Agency AsiaNews.
“The timing and release of the bishop does not surprise us at all. We had already imagined that he would be released (after Easter).”
“We don’t understand why the government insists every year on repeating the same useless act, arresting our bishop before every important liturgical celebration. Such forceful attempts by the government don’t change our faith and our joy in the Lord’s Resurrection,” the sources told AsiaNews.
The bishop was arrested on the afternoon of April 5, and held in custody in Shijiazhuang. The government does not allow for church activities which are not registered and controlled by the Religious Affairs Bureau. Therefore, police officials arrest underground priests and bishops (between Easter and Pentecost and just before Christmas) in order to prevent what they term incidents of “social disorder”, that is, non-government approved and regulated liturgical celebrations