CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Cardinal Zen gives a tick to archbishop of Prague

HONG KONG (UCAN): The former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, gave a big tick to the archbishop of Prague, Dominik Cardinal Duka, for challenging the president of China, Xi Jinping, on religious freedom and human rights during his March 28 to 30 visit to the Czech Republic (Sunday Examiner, April 24).

In an open statement, Cardinal Duka said, “As a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, I cannot ignore the fate of the brothers and sisters” in the Church in China.

Cardinal Zen said that the Czech archbishop’s gesture is easy to understand, as during the 1948 to 1993 Communist-rule of his own country, his state approval for priestly service was withdrawn.

He was then forced to live a clandestine religious life while working in an automobile factory for 15 years. He was also imprisoned from 1981 to 1982 for publishing books in secret and for his involvement with the Dominican order, of which he is a member.

Cardinal Duka passed a letter and a book to Xi on March 29 at a banquet in Prague Castle.

“I wanted our Chinese guest to realise that in a democratic country, the Church and believers belong inseparably to society,” Cardinal Duka said.

Cardinal Zen sent an Easter statement to all cardinals around the world expressing his concern for the Church in China.

He said that many of them responded. “Some cardinals may not know much about China, but some of them understand, especially those who had suffered under a Communist regime,” he said.

Cardinal Zen also questioned the wave of optimism over China-Vatican dialogue.

“The government is continuously strengthening a Church that now objectively is already separated from the universal Catholic Church; with enticements and threats they induce the clergy to perform acts contrary to the doctrine and discipline of the Church, denying their conscience and their dignity,” he wrote.

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