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A Study in Contrasts

That didn’t take long. Close down the Olympics and it is back to business as usual:

Roman Catholic Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei province, China, was arrested again by local authorities. Bishop Jia Zhiguo belongs to the “underground” church not recognized by China’s communist government. He was arrested on the morning of August 24, the twelfth such arrest since January 2004. Zhengding is a small village situated approximately 100 miles south of Beijing. Its Roman Catholic community numbers approximately 110,000. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was consecrated bishop in 1980.

Government officials arrived in vehicles at Christ the King Cathedral at WuQiu while his current whereabouts are unknown at this time. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was last arrested in August 2007 and released four months later. The reasons for his current unrest are as yet unclear. After his release in December 2007, the bishop was consigned to house arrest and not allowed to receive visitors unaccompanied by government watchers. Police patrols prevented visitors to the bishop during his house arrest.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo is nearly 74 years old and in delicate health, according to the Cardinal Kung Foundation. During his confinement at home, his requests for medical treatment were denied by Chinese authorities. The bishop has now spent at least 18 years in prison.

In the comments to my post below, Jim asks some good questions about Bishops in the United States:

Why do you suppose Catholic bishops in the United States have been so hesitant to discipline pro-abortion Catholic politicians? If Church teaching on the issue is so clear, why have so few bishops here in the US been reluctant to tell the likes of Joe Biden that, "No, Senator, you may not receive Holy Communion until you publicly repent"?


I am going to start out being charitable here. As a whole, the bishops try to abide by the principle that each shepherd knows his own flock best. I know with my own four children that while one may respond very well to direct confrontation, another may need a more gradual approach. When it comes to these pro-abortion politicians I personally would like to see a few lightning bolts fly. Let the zapping begin. However, I am not the shepherd. I am just one of the sheep. So if in the pastoral judgment of a bishop he thinks he will get better results if he takes a more measured approach, that is his call.

That said, if a bishop is avoiding making a firm statement because he is afraid of ruffling feathers, shame on him! If an American bishop will not confront a pro-abortion politician because he is worried about losing a big donation or an exclusive dinner party invitation or the prestige of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous he should look at Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo. Bishop Jia Zhiguo is risking his life and freedom to speak the truth of Catholicism. He has spent nearly a quarter of his life in Chinese prisons. He is not seeking the comfort of cooperating with the government. He is protecting the souls of his flock. I will leave it to God to judge the motivation of our bishops. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mt.8:36)

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