Catholic World News

Cardinal Zen sees Vatican-Beijing accord unlikely

February 17, 2015

Cardinal Joseph Zen argues that there is no good reason to anticipate an agreement between the Holy See and the government of China, in an article written for the AsiaNews service.

The retired Bishop of Hong Kong says that reports of progress in talks between the Vatican and Beijing are met with “a sense of disbelief” by knowledgeable Chinese Catholics. “We do not see any sign that would encourage the hope that the Chinese Communists are about to change their religious policy,” he reports.

Although some Chinese bishops have made optimistic public statements about the prospects for an agreement, Cardinal Zen notes that these prelates are not in a position to speak freely. He observes that one bishop who openly criticized the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association, Bishop Thaddeus Ma of Shanghai, is now under house arrest.

The continued role of the Patriotic Association is one major problem barring the path to an accord between the Holy See and China, Cardinal Zen notes. The other major obstacle is Beijing’s insistence on nominating bishops for the Church in China. Cardinal Zen reveals that he has not been informed of any progress in negotiations to resolve that impasse.


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