07/23/2010, 00.00
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Card Zen talks about himself at the Hong Kong Book Fair

by Annie Lam
In a talk show, Card Zen talks about his childhood in China and his priestly education. Asked about the paedophile priest scandal, he insisted that a religious vocation calls for a long period of training and constant commitment. “One must be prudent and disciplined in deepening one’s spirituality,” he explained.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Speaking on I-Talk, a Catholic TV talk show that broadcast from the Catholic stand of the Hong Kong Book Fair, Card Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, looked back on his life. He also encouraged youths to read books about the Church and Church figures like Don Bosco. The fair, which opened on 21 July, is set to end on 27 July.

During the show, which has a mixed audience of Catholics and non-believers, Cardinal Zen talked about the trips he made to Africa, Portugal, Italy, Taiwan, and elsewhere after he retired in April 2009.

He also discussed the blog he began to write since retirement, a place that has given him an opportunity to interact with others, especially young people, to discuss his faith and other issues concerning the Church in China or political reform in Hong Kong.

Recalling his days as ordinary of Hong Kong, the cardinal said he liked to read L’Osservatore Romano, which had good articles and kept him up-to-date.

He also looked back to his childhood in Shanghai, where he read many Chinese books at school and at home, for example the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In his young days, he also enjoyed learning English, French, Latin and Italian.

Speaking about a book he had published with a three-year cycle of his Sunday homilies, the prelate said that he was grateful of the experience because it allowed him to develop the habit of writing. “I’m sure some episodes were repeated over such a long span,” he said. But laughing, nothing was left out, he insisted.

As for the sex scandal involving priests in Hong Kong, Europe and the United States, he explained that a religious vocation requires a long period of training and constant commitment. “One must be prudent and disciplined in deepening one’s spirituality,” he stressed.

Fr Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, vicar general of Hong Kong, inaugurated the Catholic stand at the Book Fair with a blessing on 21 July.

In order to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Fr Matteo Ricci, the stand is offering new books and audio-visual material about the life and times of the missionary.

The I-Talk show did not invite only Cardinal Zen. Over the next few days, six priests and three nuns will also talk about the Catholic Church, its activities as well as the meaning of life.

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