Cardinal asks Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to stop "rogue officials" who carry out violence against the Church and the conscience of the faithful, Msgr. Tong asks all the faithful of the diocese to pray that the faith of Christians in China may be strengthened. Justice and peace, on behalf of Cardinal Zen, issues 60 thousand copies of a newspaper on the illegitimate ordinations, religious freedom and priests imprisoned in China, as well as passages of the Letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Cardinal Joseph Zen and the bishop of Hong Kong, Mgr. John Tong, have issued two statements ahead of tomorrow’s illegitimate ordination in Shantou (Guangdong).
The government has willed it that Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang will be ordained bishop without papal mandate. Four bishops from Guangdong, held for days by government representatives will be forced to attend the ceremony (see 11/07/2011 Officials kidnap bishops of Guangdong to force them to take part in illicit Shantou ordination
) as well as four other bishops.
According to AsiaNews sources, until 5 pm (Beijing time), six legitimate bishops, including the four from Guangdong, Haimen and Jiangxi dioceses, have been taken to Shantou city, to prepare for the ordination tomorrow at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Shantou city.
Bishop Paul Pei Junmin, designated as chairman of the celebration, was not among them (see 08/07/2011 Liaoning priests rush to defense of bishop to prevent his participation in illegitimate ordination
Card. Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong has issued an "urgent appeal" in the form of "advertising" in the Apple Daily newspaper. The appeal is addressed to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Signed as a "Zen Ze-kiun, senior citizen of Hong Kong," card. Zen asked the two state leaders “to take the time to care about our Catholics” in China. The cardinal urged the Chinese state leaders to immediately restrain “rogue civil servants who violate the state Constitution, use violence to help the scum of the Church, and to force the mainland bishops, priests and laypeople to do things that go against their conscience.” At the end, the prelate said “God is merciful, but He cannot bless those who make life difficult for His people”.
On the same day, Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong issued a letter to all parishes and Religious communities in the diocese, reminding the faithful of the illegitimate episcopal ordinations on November 20, 2010 and June 29, 2011 in China, and another one is planned to be held in Shantou diocese tomorrow. Such ordinations are “illegitimate because they are being carried out by the government without our Holy Father’s approval”. “Facing this sad and painful situation, I urge all of you to pray for our brothers and sisters in China as they struggle to keep their faith,” he said.
Meanwhile, the diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission is preparing a two-page "Special” newspaper, with 60,000 copies to be distributed tomorrow afternoon at populous spots and train stations in Hong Kong after the illicit ordination in Shantou. The copies will also be distributed on July 17 (Sunday) at more than 40 parishes in the diocese. Some copies will be distributed in Macau diocese.
Lina Chan, executive secretary of the Commission, told AsiaNews that the newspaper is published by Cardinal Zen and edited by the Commission. The content of the special newspaper will contains four parts: Cardinal Zen’s urgent appeal; articles of the China’s Constitution relating to religious belief and religious freedom, the illicit ordinations of Shantou and Leshan, and the ban of Episcopal ordination in Handan on June 29; the inhuman treatment towards detained clergy; Points 7 and 8 of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to China Catholics in 2007.