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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saving the Church in China

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen is an extraordinary man. Since his ordination in 1961, he has been an extraordinary voice for religious liberty, human rights, and democracy in China. He has never been afraid to speak up, and has been a prophetic voice in China for more than 40 years. This article from the Telegraph is the latest example of this.

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia. Where Peter is, there the Church is. To take the age old maxim to the next level, where the Church is, there is Christ. Without Peter, what remains is either a fossil or a sham.

Pray for Cardinal Zen. Pray for the Church in China. Pray.

Questions and comments are welcome.

God love you!


Joseph Cardinal Zen

Sack China's bishops, cardinal tells Vatican
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 2:07am GMT 21/12/2006

The leader of Hong Kong's Roman Catholics has called on the Pope to excommunicate China's state-appointed bishops, as relations between Beijing and the Holy See plunge to new lows.

China's state-run Church has ordained bishops in defiance of Rome, despite negotiations since the death of John-Paul II aimed at restoring diplomatic ties after more than half a century.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop of Hong Kong and one of the Church's key voices on Chinese issues, said that the time had come for the Vatican to take an uncompromising stance.

In the most recent case, at the end of November, the ordination went ahead despite a clear warning from the Holy See that it would be in breach of Canon Law.

"I think people in the underground Church and also in the good part of the official Church don't expect the Holy See to ratify this ordination easily, and they don't expect the Holy See to absolve these bishops from sanctions," he said.

Canon law calls for the excommunication of both those ordaining and being ordained if it is without Church approval. Cardinal Zen said that the Vatican had acted quickly to excommunicate Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the former archbishop of Lusaka who married and then conducted four ordinations of rebel bishops.

Mainland China has six million people worshipping in the state-backed Catholic Church, but the same number again or even more worship in underground churches loyal to Rome. They are frequently repressed, and a number of bishops remain in prison.

Until recently, a compromise held whereby the official Church would only elevate bishops after receiving an indication from Rome that the candidate had the Vatican's approval. But Cardinal Zen said this compromise had run its course.

Excommunicating bishops would mark a major break between the Vatican and the Chinese Church, which is regarded as estranged from but still "in communion" with the mainstream.
But the cardinal said that Beijing had been using the ordinations as a show of force. He also alleged that two other bishops loyal to Rome were abducted by the authorities to take part in the service to lend it credibility.

According to Asia News, a Catholic news agency, one escaped and is now in hiding.
The Communist leadership fears foreign organisations such as the Church might play a role in organising dissent, and was particularly nervous of the late John-Paul II because of his perceived role in the collapse of European Communism.

The cardinal, who was born in Shanghai, said that it was now time to offer clear leadership to the underground Church, which had suffered for its "heroic resistance" to the state.

1 comment:

Adoro Te Devote said...

I fully expect one day to see a great number of beatifications and canonizations arising out of the persecution of the Church in China. We so take our religious freedoms for granted here in the US, when our brothers and sisters around the world are risking imprisonment and death to simply be known as a Catholic loyal to Rome.

I will certainly pray for Cardinal Zen.

But what of the Catholics who worship in state-run churches? What, exactly, do those churches teach? Are they even authentically Catholic or just a bunch of Communist propaganda with liturgical trappings and a semi-catholic label?