Print Version    Email to Friend
Caution versus compassion impasse continues

HONG KONG (SE): Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, the former bishop of Hong Kong has not spared efforts and words to explain how Vatican officials do not understand the true nature of Chinese leaders and that their rush will harm the church in China. 
His recent meeting with the press at the Salesian Mission House, Shau Kei Wan, on February 9 highlighted that China does not respect religious freedom and worry that Pope Francis may involuntarily betray the underground side of the Catholic Church in China.
Cardinal Zen himself came under criticism for his disclosure of the details of a confidential meeting with pope in early January, alleging that it was an act of breach of trust. 
The cardinal had confided that he was forced to disclose certain confidential information about the Holy See in order to save the name of the pope. 
Following Cardinal Zen’s recurrent attacks, many voices rose up to warn the Holy See against any agreement that would give dangerous moral support to the current Chinese administration.
“The Holy Father is ill-advised by the team that deals with the China affairs,” the cardinal feels. 
Cardinal Zen laments that the Holy See has neglected the issue of missing bishops in China such as Bishop James Su Zhimin in Baoding, Hebei, yet pursues an accord with the communist government.  
Bishop Zhimin has been missing since his arrest in 1997.  
“Their freedom should be a prerequisite for any agreement between Beijing and the Vatican,” demanded the cardinal. 
Pietro Cardinal Parolin, secretary of state of the Vatican, in an interview with the Vatican Insider on January 31, said that “Expressions such as power, betrayal, resistance, surrender, confrontation, failure, compromise, should make room for others, such as service, dialogue, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, collaboration, communion.” 
The Holy See’s attempts for a pact would grant pardon to seven illicit bishops, three of them excommunicated, and recognise them as legitimate. 
On the other side of the coin, this would lead the Chinese government to recognise all the existing Vatican appointed bishops of the underground community. 
In the future, mutually acceptable candidates will be chosen for over 40 vacant sees.  
“The Chinese government will choose only a candidate who always obeys. It is an evil agreement. How can the Holy Father approve such a choice?” Cardinal Zen asked,
“The Holy See does everything to please the Chinese government but fails to give support for the unofficial Church communities,” Cardinal Zen said.  
Cardinal Parolin had a simple response: “If you are not prepared to change this approach, there is a serious problem: that of thinking and acting only politically. In this regard, the Holy See hopes for everyone a sincere pastoral conversion inspired by the gospel of mercy, in order to learn to welcome one another, as Pope Francis has often called for.”

More from this section