One of the Chinese “underground” bishops, who was asked by a Vatican delegation to stand aside for a government-backed prelate, has been detained by police.

Asia News, the outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reports that Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong was taken, along with the diocesan chancellor, after refusing to concelebrate Mass with the government-backed bishop.

Bishop Guo, who is recognised by the Vatican but not by the Chinese government, had recently been asked to make way for excommunicated bishop Vincent Zhan Silu. A Vatican delegation asked Bishop Guo to accept the position of auxiliary bishop under Bishop Zhan as part of a rumoured deal between the Holy See and Beijing.

However, the Office for Religious Affairs reportedly summoned Bishop Guo to a meeting on Monday afternoon, after which he returned to his residence and packed luggage. He was then taken away at 10pm.

The bishop was held in police custody for 20 days during the Easter season last year. But this time Bishop Guo was released in time to return to his church for Easter Sunday.

He denied that he had actually been kidnapped, but con­firmed he had been taken to a nearby city by Communist Party officials for three days.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection