(AsiaNews) - At the Angelus yesterday,
Pope Francis sent his best wishes to the Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean peoples
for the Lunar New Year. "I wish all of them - said the Pope - a life full of joy and hope. May the irrepressible
yearning for fraternity, which dwells in their hearts, find in the intimacy of
the family a privileged place to be discovered, educated and
realized. This will be a valuable contribution to the building of a more
humane world, where peace reigns".
Year - of the Horse - begins January 31. In
an informal conversation, on the eve of the great feast, Card. Joseph
Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, expresses his concern at the situation of
the faithful in China.
At the beginning of
the New Year how do you feel about the situation of the Church in China?
We, especially as believers, tend to be unrepentant
optimists. At the beginning of
a new year our wishes are that things may go better than in the past. But I can't
help having a sense of impatience seeing that year after year with the passing
of time things remain in a state which causes us frustration. Yes in the past
year we have two new leaders on the stage, Pope Francis and Xi Jinping. Their
initial moves have brought much hope; we may be led to believe that a decisive
turning point is in view.
Yet you don't yield
willingly to these invitations to hope?
immense trust in Pope Francis, he is so humble and so strong minded. And as a
matter of fact a turning point could be seen as already initiated by Pope
Benedict, turning from a heroic tolerance to a position of clarity. Clarity
of position seems to be a characteristic feature of our Jesuit Pope, obviously
a clarity blend with much kindness and tenderness, and much respect for people.
said that Pope Francis likes tango, but it takes two to tango. Can we
suppose the same good will in his counterpart?
So, you don't see a
great reformer in Xi Jinping?
It seems undeniable that he has shown a certain
determination in reforming his party by fighting courageously the corruption
and setting up a regime of austerity and frugality for his communist comrades. But...Yes, by reforming his party
his intention seems to be securing a continued absolute dominion over the
people. There is no sign that he will allow in any way the people to control
the party. Many experts believe it is too soon for him to take such a step, which could be dangerous,
at least until he has the reins of the
party firmly in hand. Many say that we should give him some
more time. But time may not work in his favour, nor in ours. While this
our supreme leader takes his time, those under him carry on their work of destruction.
Work of destruction?
Yes, I don't
know what other qualification we can attach to their work. With the power
position they have acquired in dealing with religions, they are destroying not
only the religions but also the good name of our nation. Let us come to the
particular case of Catholic religion: a lay person officially retired and
simply an "honorary" president is still fully active from the north to the
south of the country. The director of the Religion Affairs Bureau is "running"
the Church ever more ostentatiously, not even taking care to save the appearances.
The only purpose of their work seems to be "enslaving" our Church
(unfortunately with much success) by forcing our bishops and priests to betray
their conscience, their faith. But our bishops and priests are Chinese
as they are. Is it glorious to make slaves of their con-nationals? Is it a
victory to be proud of? It is not only shameful in itself; it brings disgrace on
our nation, in spite of its newly acquired position as a financial power.
(Photo: Card. Zen in a
demonstration calling for the release of Msgr. Ma
Daqin, Bishop of Shanghai, under house arrest - UCAN)