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  • » 04/01/2011, 00.00


    Card. Zen’s anger over Fr. Heyndrickx and Propaganda Fide’s "dialogue at all costs"

    Card. Joseph Zen Zekiun, sdb

    The "dire state" of the Church in China is caused by the policy of Beijing, but also by the Vatican policy, too similar to the failed Ostpolitik promoted byCard. Casaroli. Implement dialogue, but without selling out on our faith. Likelihood of schism with bishops who "enthusiastically" obey the regime. A spirit of repentance and conversion for all.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews)-The Church in China is in a "disastrous state" because of the harshness of the regime, but also because a "triumvirate" (the Prefect of Propaganda Fide, one of his minions, and Fr Jeroom Heyndrickx, a Scheut missionary and one of their counsellors) which continues to push the Vatican to compromise with the Chinese regime, modelled on Card. Casaroli’s Ostpolitik. This very attitude led many bishops of the official Church to participate in the illicit ordination of Chengde (11/20/2010 Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination) and the National Assembly of Catholic Representatives (09/12 / 2010 Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church), in clear disobedience to the directions of Benedict XVI. According to the retired bishop of Hong Kong the  Holy See must give clear guidance to the Church in China to avoid the schism where official bishops “enthusiastically obey” the Chinese government and not the pope.

    Card. Zen makes his case in a written response he has sent to us, to a reflection by Fr Jeroom Heyndrickx, published in No March 16, 2011 of the Ferdinand Verbiest. In it, the Belgian priest, an expert on the Church in China, writes that despite the "slap in the face" to the Pope of the Chengde ordination and Beijing Assembly, dialogue with the Chinese Government should continue and the bishops should not be judged to harshly, neither must we get carried away by "misunderstandings" over their loyalty despite the many violations of canon law. " (cfr. Verbiest Update 16 - March 2011)

    Here is what Card Joseph Zen has to say.

    Cardinal Zen’s Answer to Ferdinand Verbiest Update No. 16


    As usual, Fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx makes his choices among the Popes, putting one against the other. In this case, he opposes Pope Paul VI as promoter of dialogue to Pope Pius XI who loves confrontation.

    The Dialogue

    I allow myself to remind Fr. Heyndrickx that there are different instances of dialogue. It is very different when a Pope proclaims the general principles of dialogue from when a Pope dialogues with those who are mercilessly killing his children.

    In our concrete case, I ask: “Should we go after niceties of dialogue when our Holy Father has been seriously insulted?” Actually, what could be the meaning of the events at the end of November and at the beginning of December last year, if not a slap in the face of the Pope?

    The dialogue is surely of paramount importance. But in our case, people have rudely slammed the door in the face of their all-too-gentle interlocutors.




    Fr. Heyndrickx is enthusiastic of the Ostpolitik of Cardinal Casaroli in dealing with the totalitarian regimes in East Europe, which policy, he says, was strongly supported by Pope Paul VI. I don’t know how far that support went. But I know for sure, from a most authoritative source, that when John Paul II was elected Pope, he said “Enough!” with regard to that Ostpolitik.

    Cardinal Casaroli and his followers thought that they had worked miracles, by pursuing a policy of compromise at any cost. But, in reality, they made peace, yes, with totalitarian Governments, but at the expense of a grievous weakening of our Church. You need only listen to some ecclesiastics from those countries. One of them told me that Cardinal Wyzinsky one day went to Rome to tell some officials in the Roman Curia to keep their hands off the affairs of the Church in Poland.

    Fr. Heyndrickx believes that John Paul II would be on his side as an exemplary model of moderation. He has obviously forgotten that it was precisely John Paul II who allowed the proceedings for the canonization of the Chinese martyrs, knowing pretty well that this would surely upset the Beijing Government. After the fact, he did not apologize for the canonization, as the same Fr. Heyndrickx acknowledges.

    Now let us come to the Church in China today.


    The Church in China

    Our Church in China is now in a disastrous situation, because during the last years some have blindly and stubbornly persued that same policy of Ostpolitik, ignoring the clear direction given by Pope Benedict in his Letter to the Church in China of 2007, and against the majority opinion of the Commission which the Pope set up to advise the Holy See in affairs of the Church in China.

    Dialogue and compromise are necessary, but there must be a bottom line. We cannot renounce the principles of our faith and our basic ecclesiastical discipline, just to please the Beijing Government.

    Pope Benedict has judged that the moment of clarification has come. The Commission for China was of the opinion that we have reached the bottom of compromise and that it is time to stop. But the Prefect of CEP, a clerk of the same, and Fr. Heyndrickx, the three of them, thought they knew better.

    The Church in Poland was strong and courageous. Not so the Church in China. Our bishops needed some supply of courage. But instead they received much misplaced compassion, which pushed them deeper and deeper into the mire of slavish subjection.

    Somebody told these our brothers: “We understand you”. This meant, obviously: “We understand you, even if you, under pressure, obey to the orders of the Government.” But, in this case, to obey the Government, means to betray grievously the loyalty due to the Pope and to the communion with the Universal Church!

    After the ordination of Chengde and after the Eighth Assembly, some of the bishops involved apologized to their priests. Some other broke in tears. But there are others who, as Fr. Heyndrickx confirms, were enthusiastic of the present situation. I am afraid these people do not belong to our Church any more. It is only out of kindness, that the Pope refrains from calling that part of the Church “schismatic”, when they proclaim solemnly the will of being an independent Church and of carrying out episcopal ordinations without pontifical mandate.


    Hunting for the Culprits

    Fr. Heyndrickx finds it very convenient to put the blame on unspecified “conservative elements” of the Chinese Communist Party. The Party surely has its responsibility. But all could also see clearly that Mr. Liu Bai Nian was the one orchestrating everything behind the scenes, as he succeeded in putting at the head of the Patriotic Association and of the Episcopal Conference two bishops who are his obedient puppets. Even as Honorary President, Mr. Liu Bai Nian still goes diligently to work every day.

    It looks preposterous to me that Fr. Hendrickx should always bring in the unofficial community, when the subject matter is the deserved punishment for those in the official community. What justifies this putting on the same level our persecuted brothers and those honoured and exalted by the Government?

    Obviously I find myself among those whom Fr. Heyndrickx qualifies as “politicians who try to divide the Church” and those “outside China who were quicker than Rome to condemn Chinese bishops”, because I organized a prayer meeting for the Church in China in the spirit of penance and conversion. Here I want just to remind Fr. Heyndricks that I explicitly meant everybody, myself included, by those in need of repentance and conversion.

    The sad thing is that, while we are discussing who are the culprits, everything in the Church in China is at a standstill. The faithful in China are waiting in vain for some clarification on how the Church should be. Each day is like an eternity for those our brothers in pain. When will their cries be heeded by the Lord?


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    See also

    01/12/2009 CHINA – VATICAN
    National Assembly of Catholic Representatives postponed again
    The assembly is of one the bodies the Pope views as “irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine”. The meeting was planned for the second half of 2009. In the past Cardinal Zen asked Chinese bishops to avoid the event.

    06/12/2006 HONG KONG – CHINA – VIETNAM
    Card. Zen: “Beijing should learn from Vietnam and be open to religious freedom”
    After a two-day visit in Ho Chi Minh City, the bishop of Hong Kong talked to AsiaNews about the deep faith of the Vietnamese people and the openness of the government towards the Church. He invited China to disavow the Patriotic Association and grant full freedom to its Catholics.

    25/03/2010 VATICAN – CHINA
    Card. Zen appreciates "clarity" and work of the Vatican Commission on the Church in China
    Among most salient points, the stress on communion with the pope, avoiding participation in contradictory meetings, reference to bishops and priests still in prison, the responsibility of Chinese bishops in forming church personnel. Accord and integration among the different members of the Commission.

    08/02/2012 CHINA-VATICAN
    What is the true good of the Church in China
    On the eve of an important meeting in Rome on "Jesus our contemporary," Card. Zen asks all Catholics to help the Church in China (and especially its legitimate bishops) to emerge from ambiguity, to follow Benedict XVI and "rid" themselves of those organisms that are enemies of the faith (see PA, Bureau of Religious Affairs, etc. .), and that control and stifle the faithful. The Chinese Church is on the verge of a schism caused by "bargaining" between the Catholic faith and political power. The subtitle of this article (wanted by the author) is: "In dialogue with the Community of Saint Egidio and Gianni Valente of 30Days".

    31/08/2016 09:09:00 CHINA-VATICAN
    Global Times: Obstacles and pessimism in China-Vatican relations

    A signed article in the online international magazine of the People's Daily, the newspaper linked to the Beijing government, points out that there are still two main stubling blocks that hinder diplomatic relations: the appointment of bishops and the Taiwan question. According to analysts, China "is not in any hurry" to establishing relations with the Vatican.

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