A U.S.-based rights group says Chinese authorities arrested two elderly Roman Catholic priests in the days before the death of Pope John Paul.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation, which supports the underground Catholic Church in China, said in a press release Sunday that authorities detained Bishop Yao Liang last Thursday.

The foundation said that before his arrest, Bishop Yao, who is in his eighties, had been under mounting pressure from authorities to sever ties with the pope and join China's official Catholic Church.

The statement said that on Friday, Father Wang Jinling, also in his eighties, was arrested too. The foundation said it does not know why he was detained or where he is being kept.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.