"The voice of one crying in the wilderness". The letter from Cardinal Joseph Zen on the delicate issue of China and clumsy negotiations of the Holy See. 29 January 201810 February 2018 isoladipatmos — we are in the twilight of Vatican diplomacy ? — . "VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE DESERT". THE LETTER OF CARDINAL ZEN ZE-kiun JOSPEPH DELICATE ISSUE ON CHINESE AND clumsy NEGOTIATIONS OF THE HOLY SEE "Maybe I think that the Vatican is selling off the Catholic Church in China? Yes, definitely, If they go in the direction that is obvious in all they have done in recent months and recent years'. . . AuthorJoseph Zen Ze-Kiun we received a letter from Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun At the Media Friends which is reproduced below. In this letter, so quiet as saddened, Bishop emeritus of Hon Kong, whose voice should be heard by the Holy See in a spirit of prayerful worship - and this is for his age and for his knowledge of civil society and politics of the People's Republic of China -, the elder, shiny and vital Cardinal decided to make public his conversation occurred with Pope Francis I, the day before his departure for the last apostolic trip to Chile and Peru. At the Supreme Pontiff the Cardinal expressed his great concern about how dangerous and not a little clumsy with which several dignitaries of the Holy See have treated and continue undeterred to deal with the delicate problem of the Chinese Catholic Church. always, The main dispute between the Communist government and the Holy See concerns the appointment of Bishops. The communist authorities inescapable fact claims the right to approve the appointment of Bishops, that that in clearer terms the same as saying: has it that the bishops are in every way government-appointed, thus controlling for them by both the clergy and the faithful. These problems do not arise today, because many years ago, during a visit to a priestly house Aventine, several priests and religious, I remember that Cardinal, about the delicate Chinese problem, He had to define the then Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, "a malicious incompetent '. At the time we were in March 2010, but things do not seem to have changed, apparently are quite deteriorated. Ariel S. Levi Gualdo . . Dear Friends of the Media, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, Bishop Emeritus of Hon Kong of when Asia News It revealed some recent events of the Church in China, legitimate bishops that the "Holy See" would be asked to give the resignation to make way for "bishops" illegitimate and even excommunicated explicitly, different versions and interpretation of the facts are creating confusion among people [Ed. cf WHO]. Many, knowing of my recent trip to Rome, They asked me some questions. . In October last, when Mons. Peter Zhuang received its first communication from the Holy See and asked for my help [Ed. cf. WHO], I sent someone to take her letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, included with a copy for the Holy Father. I do not know if that included copy has never reached the Holy Father's Desk. Luckily, Mons. Savio Hon Taifai was still in Rome and was able to meet the Pope for a farewell visit. In that occasion, He has made known to the Holy Father the two cases of Shantou and Mindong. The Holy Father was surprised and promised that he would study the case. . Because of the words that the Holy Father He had called in Mons. Savio She, new facts in December were even more shocking and surprising to me. When the aged and afflicted Bishop. Zhuang asked me to bring to the Holy Father his reply to the message he received from the "Vatican delegation" in Beijing, I could not say no. But what could I do to make sure that his letter reached the Holy Father, When I'm not even sure if my letters come to him? To make sure that our voice reaches the Holy Father, I immediately took the decision to go to Rome. I left Hong Kong on the night of 9 January, coming to Rome in the early morning of 10 January, just in time - well, really a little late - to participate at the general audience on Wednesday. At the end of the hearing, We cardinals and bishops are allowed to kiss and I had the opportunity to put in the hands of the Holy Father the envelope, He was just saying that he was in Rome in order to bring the letter from Bishop to him. Zhuang, the hope was that he found time to read it [in the envelope there was the original letter of the bishop in China, my translation into Italian and a letter from me]. . For obvious reasons, I hoped that my presence at the hearing was not noticed, but my late arrival had been noticed in the classroom. Anyway, Now everyone can see the entire sequence from the Vatican Television [by the way, The hearing was held in the Paul VI, not in St. Peter's Square and I was late to enter the hearing, but I have "waited in line, cold ", as some article reported incorrectly]. . In Rome, I met Father Bernardo Cervellera of Asia News. We exchanged information, but I told him not to write anything. And he has agreed. Now that someone else has published the news, I can say that I agree and confirm. Yes, as far as I know, things have happened just as they are told in Asia News [article Asia News "He believes" that the bishop who headed the Vatican delegation to China was Mons. Claudio Maria Celli. I do not know how official role he was there, but it is almost certain it was him in Beijing]. . At this crucial time and because of the confusion that reigns in the media, knowing the situation in a direct way in Shantou and in an indirect way to Mindong [Ed. cf. WHO], I feel compelled to share my knowledge of the facts, so that people sincerely concerned for the good of the Church can know the truth to which they are entitled. I am very conscious that doing what, I'm talking about things that are technically qualified as "confidential". But my conscience tells me that in this case, the "right to the truth" should overcome any "duty of confidentiality". . With this conviction, I am going to share with you the following. . In the afternoon of that day, the 10 January, I received a call from Santa Marta, where I was told that the Holy Father would have received in a private audience on Friday evening 12 January [although the Vatican bulletin shall inform the 14 January]. That was my last day of my 85 years of life, a great gift of Heaven! [Also note that it was the eve of the departure of the Holy Father for Chile and Peru, and then the Holy Father had to be very busy]. . That evening, the conversation lasted about half an hour. I was pretty messy in my talk, but I think I achieved the purpose of making known to the Holy Father the concerns of its faithful children in China. The most important question I posed to the Holy Father [which he was also mentioned in the letter] It was if he had had time to "study the case" [as he promised in Mons. Savio She]. Despite the danger of being accused of breaking the confidentiality, I decided to tell you what His Holiness said: "Yup, I told them [his aides in the Holy See] not to create another instance Mindszenty!». I was there in the presence of the Holy Father, on behalf of my Chinese brothers in suffering. His words should be well understood as a consolation and encouragement more for them than for me. . This historical reference to Cardinal. Josef Mindszenty, one of the heroes of our faith, It is very significant and appropriate by the Holy Father. The Card. Josef Mindszenty era arcivescovo di Budapest, Cardinal Primate of Hungary under Communist persecution. He suffered much in prison for several years. During the short life of the revolution 1956 He was freed by insurgents and, before the Red Army destroyed the revolution, She took refuge at the American embassy. Under pressure from the government, the Holy See ordered him to leave the country and appointed a successor to taste the communist government. . With this revelation, I hope I have satisfied the legitimate "right to know" of the media and of my brothers in China. The important thing for us is to pray for the Holy Father, singing very appropriate traditional anthem we pray: «Let us pray for our Pope Francis, May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and he will not surrender him to the will of his enemies, in the». . Perhaps it is necessary some further explanation. . 1. Please note that the problem is not the resignation of the legitimate bishops, but the request to make room for illegitimate and excommunicated. Although the law on retirement for reasons of age has never been applied in China, many seniors underground bishops have urged a successor, but they never received any response from the Holy See. Other, who already have a successor appointed, and perhaps even the note signed by the Holy Father, They were ordered not to proceed with the order for fear of offending the government [Ed. cf. WHO]. . 2. I especially talked about the two cases of Shantou and Mindong. No further information, in addition to the copy of a letter written by an outstanding Catholic woman, an academic retired, very versed in the affairs of the Church in China, in which she warns Archbishop. Celli from pushing to legitimize the "bishop" She Shiying in Sichuan. . 3. I recognize to be a pessimist about the present situation of the Church in China, but my pessimism is based on my long experience of the Church in China. From 1989 to the 1996 I always spent six months a year teaching in various seminaries of the official Catholic communities. And I have direct experience of slavery and humiliation to which our brother bishops are subject. Based on the latest information, there is no reason to change this pessimistic view. The communist government is producing new and harsher regulations limiting the religious freedom. They are now putting in place the regulations that until now were only on paper: by the 1 February 2018, the rally to the mass of an underground community will not be tolerated. . 4. Some say that all efforts to reach agreement [between China and the Holy See] They are to avoid an ecclesial schism. This is ridiculous! The schism is already there, in independent church. The popes have avoided using the word "schism" because they knew that many in official Catholic communities were not there voluntarily, but under heavy pressures. The proposed "unification" will force anyone [to enter] in that community. The Vatican then would give his blessing to a new and stronger schismatic church, washing the bad conscience of those who are already willing renegades and others who are ready to join them. . 5. It is no good to try to find common ground to bridge the decades-long division between the Vatican and China? But there may be something "common" with a totalitarian regime? Or you surrender or accept the persecution, but remaining true to yourself. One can imagine an agreement between St. Joseph and King Herod? . 6. So maybe I think that the Vatican is selling off the Catholic Church in China? Yes, definitely, If they go in the direction that is obvious in all they have done in recent months and recent years. . 7. Some expert of the Catholic Church in China says it is not logical to assume a more harsh religious policy by Xi Jinping. Anyhow, Here we are not talking logic, but the obvious and crude reality. . 8. Am I the greatest obstacle to the process of agreement between the Vatican and China? If this deal is bad, are more than happy to be a hindrance. . Hong Kong, 29 January 2018 . + Joseph Card. Zen Ze-Kiun Bishop Emeritus of Hon Kong . 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