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Hong Kong cardinal: Holy See should be more supportive of underground Church in China

November 18, 2013

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who served as bishop of Hong Kong from 2002 to 2009, called upon the Holy See to take a clearer stance in favor of faithful Catholic communities in China that are not affiliated with the government-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

“The Holy See has to choose between being clear or accepting compromise,” Cardinal Zen said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “Unfortunately, on the executive side, people see a lot of compromise.”

“The part that submits to the government is not united,” he continued. “There are those who still put up a certain resistance, notwithstanding their submission, and others who tolerate this oppression, this control. There are also opportunists who have rather cordially accepted collaboration with the government, and look out for their own interests and those of the government rather than for the Church.”

“What we may call the underground community suffers," he added. “They feel abandoned. The actions by Rome are not in their favor. Especially, for example, many bishops die and no successors are named.”

Cardinal Zen praised Cardinal Fernando Filoni and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as well as Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new secretary of state.

“The new Pope has not yet spoken out," Cardinal Zen added. “He is evidently a very wise leader. He is listening, he is studying. Let’s hope the Lord helps him.”


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  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 18, 2013 12:15 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Zen has always been the defender of the underground Church and knows well how the communist government works. For that matter, the last pope who also understood China was Pius XII, as evidenced by his encyclicals - many of which are just as germane today as they were over 50 years ago. The Vatican needs to wake itself from the stupor it has found itself in for half a century.