Controversy over Shanghai bishop continues to brew

Staff say classes have been delayed indefinitely at a Shanghai Catholic seminary caught in the middle of a struggle between Chinese priests and the Communist Party-controlled church.

A staff member at the Sheshan seminary said Wednesday that classes that usually begin in mid-September were being postponed until a later date. The reason wasn't clear, said the woman, who would give only her surname, Lu, because she wasn't authorized to speak to media.

Catholic website also reported the delay.

The delay is believed to have been prompted by the recent surprise announcement by new Shanghai bishop Ma Daqin that he was resigning from the party's Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which exerts strict control over the Chinese church. Ma has been confined to the Sheshan seminary ever since his July announcement.