Cardinal Zen: Vatican must be clearer on China

Cardinal Zen: Vatican must be clearer on China

Cardinal Zen says the Vatican must speak more clearly on religious liberty in China.

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William Atkinson
5 years 4 months ago
Creating 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.
5 years 4 months ago
Cardinal 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!


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