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  • » 05/23/2008, 00.00


    The destiny of China and its Church are in Mary’s hands, says Cardinal Zen

    Joseph Zen

    Here is an authoritative comment by the bishop of Hong Kong to AsiaNews about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China that Benedict XVI launched for 24 May. In it he talks about local authorities’ fears and obstacles, his hope in a “spiritual victory” and his solidarity for Sichuan earthquake victims.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The World Day of Prayer for the Church in China which we celebrate tomorrow is a great day. We entrust the destiny of China and its Church in the hands of Our Lady on this day for She likes us and is very powerful. Since the situation in China is not as optimistic as some might believe, Our Lady is our only hope to tear down walls and touch hearts.

    Here in Hong Kong we prepared ourselves for the Pope’s Day of Prayer with a novena in every parish church dedicated to Mary. There are about 15 across the territory and each evening the faithful of each parish and those from neighbouring parishes met to pray. Tomorrow we shall end the novena by gathering in the church dedicated to Mary, Help of Christians. Since it is also the eve of the Corpus Domini we shall also perform the Eucharistic procession. These are days of great participation.

    Talking about China I am under the impression that the authorities are too edgy about the Day of Prayer. Not only are they creating problems for pilgrimages but they are also ordering many priests not to conduct any pastoral work during the month of May as if this month might turn into a revolution.

    A priest from the underground Church said that since the beginning of May he has been under the surveillance of two policemen day and night. They follow him when he goes to the doctor or the dentist.

    I can’t imagine what they [the authorities] think Catholics do in May. They are so scared.

    Ours is a spiritual revolution that harms no one and is good for all.

    This fear is something negative and runs askance of acts of friendship and closeness that have taken place in recent months like concerts by the Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Choir in the Vatican.

    It seems to me that these two approaches come from different levels. Positive signs come from the top leadership; negative ones come from lower down the hierarchy. The latter fear that normalising relations between China and the Vatican might cut into their existing advantages and so they do all they can to stand in the way. The Lord and Our Lady shall however win.

    Perhaps these mid-level officials are also afraid when we talk about “victory” because they fear it might be about real wars. Then again we are no longer in an age of religious wars.

    What we are hoping for is a spiritual victory that ultimately benefits everyone. When Our Lady wins, everyone wins.

    It is important that party officials under our language; otherwise they will think that we are going into battle. In reacting to the Pope’s letter they actually said: “Beware, weapons and armies are at the gates!” Our weapons and armies are spiritual though, full of benevolence and forgiveness.

    Being optimistic is worth it. But for now though it is important to keep going for a while to help rescue the victims of the Sichuan earthquake. It is a catastrophe of huge proportions, but China has opened up, become transparent and thrown its doors wide open to international aid regardless of origin. It is a good start. Let us hope that it will continue to be like this in the future.

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    See also

    22/05/2008 CHINA – VATICAN
    In China the Church is getting ready for the World Day of Prayer in union with the Pope
    The government stops pilgrimages and gatherings, but in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Guangzhou official and underground priests, religious and faithful prepare to pray the Pope’s words about Our Lady of Sheshan. In addition to the Pope’s intent they will pray for Sichuan quake victims, grateful to the Universal Church.

    26/05/2016 16:45:00 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Our Lady of Sheshan "helps Chinese Catholics “see hope in the dark"

    Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, secretary of Propaganda Fide, celebrated Mass in Hong Kong’s St Jude Church on the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians. During the service, he mentioned Fr Peter Yu Heping, who died in mysterious circumstances in 2015, but had great faith in the future of the Church in China.

    20/05/2010 HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
    You should be at the Marian shrine of Sheshan, Pope tells Card Zen
    Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus leads a prayer vigil for religious freedom and the Church in China. He reveals bits of conversation he had with Benedict XVI during the pilgrimage to Fatima.

    14/05/2008 CHINA – HONG KONG
    Sichuan quake: toll rises to 15,000 dead and 40,000 missing
    Official figures now say 15,000 dead but fears are growing for the 40,000 missing. Cardinal Zen urges Catholics to pray and starts a fund raising campaign on behalf of rescue operations. Hong Kong diocese sends US$ 300,000 for immediate needs.

    01/07/2007 HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
    Cardinal Zen: “Pope’s letter to the Chinese Church represents love for truth and his children”
    The bishop of Hong Kong, Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, hopes that Benedict XVI’s letter to China’s clergy and faithful may be the starting point for a direct dialogue between the local Church and the Beijing government. He stresses the letter’s religious rather than its political tone.

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