Cardinal Zen says the Vatican must speak more clearly on religious liberty in China.Show Comments (3)Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.William Atkinson5 years agoCreating shepherds of the faith, Bishops, has always been a contentious governance thru history as working with authoritative governments vs authoritative religion can bring actions leading to persecutions and even war. From Roman rule, Islam powers, Kings and Queens, democracies and republics, socialism and communism there is always going to be friction there is always going to be differences in what is believed to be faith, morals, rules and rulers. Finding an acceptable level of agreement can be a monumental effort especially when economics and power become the stone walls that separate mankind and their governments. Religious liberty and the freedom and rights of individuals and communities can be the compliment or backbreaker of any negotiations of ideals in governments.Stan Zorin5 years agoKeeping publicly silent for decades has proven to be, for the Vatican and for other cardinals and bishops around the world, the case of shepherding dogs who did not bark when wolves fell upon and devoured and scattered the sheep. If the hierarchy of the Church has been worried about upsetting the communist clique in China then what is the good of considering themselves to be the shepherds in the service of God ? If it causes problems to upset those who call the Church's teachings "opium of the people", those who have persecuted and killed Catholics then why even bother claiming to be shepherds ? And it is not only the Chinese communists who have been the beneficiaries of the official silence. In the first half of the 20th century the communist governments in Eastern and Central Europe, but primarily the communists of the Soviet Russia/Soviet Union committed a mass murder of tens of millions of christians, who were primarily Orthodox but also Catholic, and during the Second Vatican Council there was not a peep uttered on behalf of those who perished in the jewish communist hell, there was no document produced or recognition given. The biggest mass murder of christians in history had just occurred and nothing was even said. There was no interest or time to do that, but time and effort was found to cozy up to Jews. Utter shame.JOHN WORTHLEY5 years agoCardinal Zen faithfully represents a "cold warrior" approach to China-Vatican relations. It emphasizes historical conflicts and power dynamics over current developments and organic reconciliation. From any approach three realities are unavoidable as we move forward: 1. Despite obstacles on both sides the church in China is thriving while in Europe She is waning. Churches in China fill with young people and the government continues to build more churches. Since 1982 when I first arrived in China and heard, ironically, Mass celebrated in Latin and photos of the Pope in every church, I have observed a grace-filled growth not only in numbers but in devotion and desire for reconciliation with the universal church. The Holy Spirit seems to be up to something! 2. Nearly half the dioceses have no bishop primarily because Rome has not responded to lists of candidates submitted by China. The Chinese Catholic Church thus argues that it has for pastoral reasons unilaterally appointed a few bishops hoping for eventual approval from Rome. 3. Recent opportunities for conversation have been accepted by China but spurned by the Vatican. In September a shrine to Our Lady of China was consecrated in New York as a prayer for reconciliation. Leaders of the China Church accepted the invitation to gather there for informal dialogue and prayer. Cardinal Filoni of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples declined. The Chinese leaders then sent letters to the Cardinal and to Pope Francis seeking informal dialogue. Cardinal Filoni has not responded. His Holiness is now turning Rome from the "cold warrior" approach toward rapprochement and reconciliation efforts. Our Lady of Sheshan, pray for us!