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Imprisoned Chinese bishop invokes Mandela's quest for freedom



Shanghai, 7 December 2013: Imprisoned Bishop Thaddeus Ma, in his internet message on Friday mourned the first black president of South Africa Nelson Mandela and cited Mandela's quotations that call for freedom, faith and justice.

Bishop Ma cited three quotations of Mandela, the first black president of South Africa who died on Dec. 5. The first one says: "Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me." It was taken from Mandela's book Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela with Connections.

The second one Bishop Ma cited reads: "Faith sometimes undergoes painful tests, but I will not give in to pessimism." The third one is: "Both the oppressors and the oppressed need liberation. The ones who take away others' freedom are prisoners of hatred. They are locked behind bars of prejudice and narrow mindedness."

Bishop Ma called for prayer at the end of the message, "Let's pray for the late Mandela!" Mandela spent 27 years in prison because of his struggles for justice.

The quotations also seemed to describe Bishop Ma's present situation. He has been under house arrest at Sheshan seminary, Shanghai, right after his episcopal ordination on July 7, 2012. He was occasionally given limited freedom of movement. His appointment as bishop was revoked by the Chinese authorities in December 2012. However, the Catholics in Shanghai and the universal Church recognize him a bishop of Shanghai.

A Catholic in Shanghai told Asia News: "We are praying earnestly for the freedom of Bishop Ma every day. We hope he will keep himself in good spirit despite all the difficulties. We pray that he will be freed soon and can exercise his episcopal authority. Our Shanghai diocese needs his leadership."
Source: AsiaNews






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