China’s officially atheistic Communist Party wants not only the right to approve Catholic bishops, but also to fire those who get out of line.

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BEIJING (AP) — In a fresh challenge to Vatican authority, China has revoked the title of a new Catholic bishop in Shanghai who outraged Chinese officials by immediately dropping out of the government agency that oversees the country’s officially sanctioned church, religious officials said Wednesday.

Ma Daqin, who was jointly named for the post in a rare consensus between Beijing and the Vatican, has been confined to a seminary since he announced his intention to drop out of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in front of a congregation during his July 7 ordination as auxiliary bishop.

The move by Ma, 44, was seen as challenging China’s attempts to run the country’s Catholic church independently of the Vatican.

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How the Chinese communists destroyed the Catholic Church in Shanghai

While working in the Shanghai Municipal Archives, Father Mariani discovered newly de-classified dossiers that detailed the party’s campaign against Catholics and how the communists dismantled the Church in Shanghai.

Realizing that he had a real treasure in his hands, he asked the archivists if he could have copies of the material; incredibly, they said, “Yes.”

“Then things got interesting,” Father Mariani recalled in a recent interview.

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