(Beijing) In the early morning hours of the day, the Catholic underground bishop Casimir Wang Milu of Tianshui in Gansu Province died in the People's Republic of China. Msgr. Wang was 74 years old. He was not recognized by the Communist government as a bishop. His burial will take place on 18 February. There is currently no corresponding acknowledgment from the regime.
Bishop's chair of Tianshui vacant since 1955
Officially, the bishop's chair in Central China's Tianshui has only been vacant since 1972, but in fact it has been unoccupied since 1955. Tianshui was a mission area of the German Capuchins. In 1946, Pope Pius XII. made the area into a diocese. The first diocesan bishop was the German Capuchin Peter Gratian Grimm. With the Communist takeover of power, the suffering period began for the Christians of the country. In 1955 all foreign bishops and priests of the country were expelled. Bishop Grimm also had to leave China and went to Indonesia in the mission area of the Capuchins. With his death in 1972, the last official bishop of the Chinese diocese died.
In 1981, Mr. Casimir Wang was consecrated to be the underground bishop of Tianshui. The secret bishop gave him Bishop Peter Joseph Fan Xueyan of Baoding in Hebei, one of the charismatic leading figures of the underground Church. Bishop Fan spent 17 years in prisons and labor camps as well as the last five years of his life under house arrest and constant interrogation. China's underground Catholics are convinced that he did not die of "lung failure" in 1992, as it was officially called, but the consequences of torture. His beatification proceedings were initiated.
Ten years for Christ in prison
In 1983, Bishop Wang was also tracked and arrested by the regime. In Beijing he was sentenced to ten years in prison. Having been released after serving the punishment in the 1990s, he made use of the special powers the Pope had given to the Chinese underground bishops to consecrate other bishops without the direct consent of the Holy See. He had made use of it " excessively," which for him, as Asianews says, he had been suspended by Rome, despite his ardent zeal for evangelization and his inviolable fidelity to the pope. He stayed in the province of Gansu and continued to work as a pastor.
In 2007 the special authority for the consecration of bishops was given by Pope Benedict XVI. in his letter to the Chinese Catholics in general.
Bishop Wang was born in 1942 as the son of a Catholic family. In 1979, he was ordained a priest. His younger brother, John Wang, also a priest, was consecrated to the underground bishop of Tianshui in 2011.