02/10/2012, 00.00
ITALY - ASIA
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"Jesus our contemporary" shakes Asia and Europe

At the International event organized by the Cultural Project of the Italian Bishops Conference, Card. Joseph Zen emphasizes the vitality of the Church in China and Hong Kong. For Card. Bagnasco, in the West there is a "strange reticence" to speaking of Jesus The Pope: many believers face suffering and persecution for Jesus today.
Rome (AsiaNews) - "Jesus is my contemporary through the saints and people who are suffering": this is how Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, summed up his experience speaking at the international conference "Jesus our contemporary" promoted by the Cultural Project of the Italian Bishops Conference, of which Cardinal. Camillo Ruini is president.
Speaking before several hundred people last night, Card. Zen spoke his personal life in Shanghai and Hong Kong and the period when he was teaching in the seminaries of mainland China, underlining the deep faith of the Chinese Church, as well as the difficulties in which it is immersed .

The "contemporary nature of Jesus" is also seen from the "contemporary nature of the cross," said the cardinal and he recalled a great champion of the faith in China, Msgr. Anthony Li Duan, the late bishop of Xian (d. 2005), a great promoter of the unity of the Church in China, and unity with the pope. Card. Zen said that in 2000 Msgr. Li Duan twice refused to submit to the religious policy of the party, refusing to go to an illicit episcopal ordination (without the mandate of the Pope) and a meeting in Beijing where he was to sign a document against Pope John Paul II (who had canonized the Chinese martyrs).

Card. Zen has shown that even within the pressures and persecutions, there are many conversions to Christianity in China. And in Hong Kong, a small community of 350 thousand faithful in a population of 7 million people, every year there are thousands of adult baptisms.

Card. Angelo Bagnasco, president of the CEI, began the conference yesterday, evidencing the differences between European and non-European countries on the issue of faith in Jesus Christ: "While in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the freshness of Christianity is palpable and young Churches (like South Korea) are growing at a dizzying pace, we do not register the same enthusiasm, the same zeal in announcing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, because of which the "faith is in danger of dying out like a flame without oxygen".

Today, Card. Bagnasco reiterated, there is "a strange reluctance to speak of Jesus" that threatens to transform believers into "tired receptors of a bland Christianity that is taken for granted". Hence the necessity and urgency of "a season of new evangelization", starting from the knowledge that man "without Christ, easily loses himself" and that the issue "on the ultimate and definitive meaning of life and the world , on the enigma of time and death "is" the question that runs through human history. "

To mark the occasion, Benedict XVI sent a message to the president of CEI in which he spoke of his appreciation for the choice of dedicating the conference “to the Person of Jesus", which will have a deep resonance in Italy’s social and ecclesial communities."

For the pope, "... many signals reveal how the name and the message of Jesus, even in such distracted and confused times, provokes ... interest ... even those who are unable to adhere to his word of salvation."

And after having reiterated the urgent need to "open a path to God in the hearts and lives of men," Benedict XVI said that "the story of Jesus of Nazareth, in whose name still many believers in different countries of the world face suffering and persecution, can not therefore be confined to the distant past, but it is decisive for our faith today".
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