02/06/2018, 12.09
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Card. Zen: Do not manipulate Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter

by Card. Joseph Zen

The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong comments on some statements and publications of the past few days, after the declaration of the Vatican press office on the "presumed difference of thought and action between the Holy Father and his collaborators in the Roman Curia on issues relating to China". The accusation of Card. Zen: the Letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics is only partially quoted. Comfort to the faithful of the underground communities forced "to enter the lion’s cage".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - In a blog post published yesterday, Card. Joseph Zen returns to questions related to the possible agreement between China and the Vatican on illegitimate bishops replacing legitimate bishops, and on what he called the "selling-out" of the Chinese Church to the government of Beijing. Translation from Chinese by AsiaNews.


  • Some people who care about me advised me not to speak more, or rather to pray more. Of course to pray more is absolutely correct, and all our hopes should be on God, and entrusted to the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
  • Those who advised me not to speak more probably are concerned of me being easily attacked by others if talking too much. I am not afraid of that, only if I am sure that the words are fair and useful, then I am not afraid of the gains and losses, given my age.
  • I still want to talk because I'm afraid I won't be able to speak any more soon. Please bear with me.

Today I would like to talk about:

  1. On the Book of Job in the First Reading of this Sunday, he has been assigned “months of misery, and troubled nights”. He said, “I shall not see happiness again." (Job 7) But the Psalm responds: Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 147)

The mainland brothers and sisters, in the past few days, have heard that the Vatican is ready to surrender to the Chinese Communists, their hearts are probably very uncomfortable. If the illicit and excommunicated bishops are to be legitimized, and the legitimate bishops are to be forced to retreat, wouldn't the legitimate bishops of the underground communities be worried about their fate? Priests and believers will soon have to obey and respect those who are today illicit and excommunicated but become legitimized bishops by the Holy See because of the backing by the Chinese government. How painful nights will they have to bear?

No need to say tomorrow, but even today the great plague has begun. Since February 1, 2018 the Chinese government will strictly enforce the Religious Regulations. The underground priests of Shanghai have informed their Church members not to go to their Masses. Those who are stubborn and disobedient will probably be detained!

Don't be afraid, God will heal the broken heart!

  1. The Secretary of State of the Holy See says: "We understand the pain of Chinese brothers and sisters yesterday and today." Alas! This man of little faith knows what real pain is?! Mainland brothers are not afraid of losing homes and properties, not afraid of being imprisoned, also not afraid of shedding blood. Their greatest pain is to be betrayed by their “closed ones”!

Cardinal Parolin also made a long interview, all were paradoxical fallacies (hopefully words and mind are not different). But the most undignified of all was the Secretary of State had the audacity to insult emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Parolin only cited, out of context, the Pope’s Letter to the Church in China ten years ago, by saying: "the solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities". But he did not say (the second half of the sentence): “at the same time, though, compliance with those authorities is not acceptable when they interfere unduly in matters regarding the faith and discipline of the Church.” (Pope Benedict XVI Letter 2007, 4.7)

[In Italian in the text:]

Non è decente per un alto ufficiale della Santa Sede manipolare la lettera di un Papa, anche se già ritirato, citando la frese (4.7): “la soluzione dei problemi esistenti non può essere perseguita attraverso un permanente conflitto con le legittime Autorità civili” nascondendo che la lettera segue immediatamente dicendo“nello stesso tempo, però, non è accettabile un'arrendevolezza alle medesime quando esse interferiscano indebitamente in materie che riguardano la fede e la disciplina della Chiesa.”

Pope Francis also spoke to the Bishops in Asia at the Asian Youth Day, in South Korea: "The first condition of dialogue is coherence to one's own identity."

A “high-ranking source of the Holy See” humbly said: “We will still be like caged birds, but the birdcage will be bigger…..We will inch the cage space.” My God! The question is not the size of the birdcage, but who are inside the birdcage?! The faithful of the underground communities are not inside the birdcage. Now it is you who force them into the cage, and have to "unite” inside the birdcage? Of course in the birdcage some are slaves, but some are willing to be in the cage to be minions of the swagger. (I was the first one to say that there is only one Church in China, and the open Church members also love the Pope in heart. Now I dare not say so.)

Now that I have decided to give priority to truth and justice (all I am saying is to protect the pope's reputation and to clarify the Church's Truth), I also wish to tell you that I received a private audience with Pope Francis three years ago. It took me 40 minutes to report my views on the “dialogue”. The Pope listened to me for 40 minutes without interrupting me, only when I said, “The Church on the mainland is objectively speaking a schismatic one (independent and government-managed)”. The Pope said, “Of course!” (“Certo!”).

  1. Yesterday many people called to "comfort me" in person or by telephone because I was scolded by a spokesman for the Holy See. This is another big misunderstanding. I definitely do not need sympathy. Let us comfort the spokesman instead! He is a caged bird, forced into such an awkward position: this time he was so efficient, all at once criticized my speech (of course, written by others, he read out). However, not more than a year ago, before the Ninth National Assembly of the Catholic Representatives in China, did he not say “Holy See is waiting for hard facts before it makes a judgement”? (“La Santa Sede attende di giudicare in base a fatti comprovati.”)It is more than a year, and we are still waiting for that judgement!
  2. South China Morning Post commentator A. L. is also worthy of sympathy. Every day he has to find an object to criticize, to mock, and he is a learned person (he can talk about de omnibus et aliquibus aliis, all topics, and others.) In his the article that day, he said that I like politics more than religion. I want to remind him. “Where angels fear to tread, the fools rush in”. What does he know about religion? What is faith? He said that I decided to make the faithful of the Mainland to suffer. Does he know: what is the real pain for a man of faith? But his last remark was right: “The Vatican has to readjust its worldly diplomacy, whatever its spiritual preferences may be.” However, those are not just preferences, they are not-negotiable principles!



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See also
Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong
29/01/2018 11:13
The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou
02/02/2018 14:09
The Vatican asks legitimate bishops to step aside in favour of illegitimate ones
22/01/2018 15:53
Dear Chinese bishops, where is the measure of your heart?
20/02/2018 12:55
Press Office statement on the difference between the pope and his collaborators on Chinese matters
30/01/2018 14:52


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