European Parliament calls on Vatican to support Cardinal Zen

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff


Cardinal Joseph Zen. / Iris Tong via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

Strasbourg, France, Jul 8, 2022 / 04:24 am (CNA).

The European Parliament has called on the Vatican “to give full support to Cardinal Zen” and told the Holy See it should “strengthen its diplomatic efforts and its leverage on the Chinese authorities”.

In a resolution passed on July 7, the parliament condemned the arrest of the 90-year-old former bishop of Hong Kong by Chinese authorities and demanded that all charges against him be dropped.

Cardinal Zen was charged in a Hong Kong court on May 24 with four other prominent democracy advocates who were all trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters to pay their legal fees.

In the non-binding resolution passed on Thursday, the EU parliament decried the arrest of Zen as “an attack on the freedoms guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law, including the freedom of religion or belief”.

The resolution also recognized the cardinal as a leading advocate for democracy in Hong Kong and instructed the President of the European Parliament, Maltese Catholic Roberta Metsola, to communicate the resolution to the Holy See as well as other institutions.

“The European Parliament has stood and still stands and will continue to stand with Hong Kong. This parliament continues to actively show solidarity with Hong Kong democrats and against Chinese communist oppression,” said Reinhard Buetikofer, the leader of the European Parliament’s China delegation according to the South China Morning Post.

Zen was arrested by the authorities in Hong Kong on May 11 and was released on bail later on the same day. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to register a pro-democracy association.

The day after Zen’s arrest by Hong Kong authorities, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said he hoped that the cardinal’s arrest would not complicate the Holy See’s dialogue with China.

Zen has strongly criticized the Holy See’s provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops with Beijing.

Human rights advocates this week voiced concerns after Pope Francis said the agreement was “moving well” and should be renewed.

On May 24, the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, Zen said that the Holy See “made an unwise decision” to enter into a provisional agreement with the Chinese Communist Party government when it did.

“Martyrdom is normal in our Church,” Zen said. “We may not have to do that, but we may have to bear some pain and steel ourselves for our loyalty to our faith.”

The trial against Zen and other arrested citizens is scheduled to begin on September 19.

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  1. I don’t think such a move would be wise from the Vatican as Cardinal Zen, unlike his archrival Cardinal Parolin, is pro-sectarian and is relatively anti-traditionalist, and by anti-traditionalist, I’m not talking about the type of traditionalism, (i.e. Tridentine) that has been the subject of so much heated controversy of late. Rather, I’m talking about the original Vatican II style traditionalism that opts for sacred worship without all the modernist trappings that so many contemporary parish Churches have taken to since the 1990s such as replacing traditional sacred music with Hillsongs and other similar music genres. Also Zen’s sectarianism is fracticidal and dangerous to building social cohesion and Catholic unity in China as it gels readily with the divisive tendencies of other sectarian-leaning Evangelical groups who do not want to carve out building the Kingdom of God through dialogue but instead choose to remain seperatist in relation to the traditional Catholic Church in China. As Pope Francis always recommends, dialogue is the most productive and unitifying way forward. Anything that seeks to obstruct the conversation in this regard is antithetical to bearing good fruit.

  2. The spectacle of the European Parliament calling on the Vatican to support a Cardinal being persecuted by a Communist government illustrates yet again the depths to which the Francis Church has dragged the Church. This plea will certainly be ignored by Francis and Bergoglio as they continue their negotiations with the Reds to extirpate Christianity from China.

  3. A remarkable development to say the least. Hard to say just what is going on. Is the EU trolling Francis’ conciliatory postures toward them as unwelcome paternalism or has the Western media’s narrative of anti-Christian civilization been deflowered by the realities ‘on the ground’ and diplomats seeing the Communist (sino-russia) writing on the wall?

  4. First of all, how do we know that the Vatican has been silent. Then it must be borne in mind that Cardinal Zen has involved himself in the political struggle. I feel quite confident that had the Cardinal been fighting for the Church, the anti-theistic Europeans would not have supported him.

    • As for whether the Vatican has been silent (a good question), we might at least compare Pope Benedict’s 2007 Open Letter to the Church in China with the 2018 “provisional agreement” (renewed in 2020) probably advanced by Parolin, and addressed to the politicians in China.

      Oh, but wait, the more recent agreement remains a secret.

      In A.D. 452 Pope Leo the Great “dialogued” in secret with Attila the Hun in such a way that the invasion of Rome was averted (And, the papal procession was led by the monstrance and the Real Presence.) In the 1980s Pope St. John Paul II “dialogued” skillfully with the Soviet Union in such a way that the fall of the Empire fell was only partly from own weight.

      I do agree that the secularist European Parliament is in a bit of a fix, given that it has refused to recognize in its Charter the complementary roles of Christianity and the Classical world in creating the event (more than a geography) called Europe, now in such danger.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. European Parliament calls on Vatican to support Cardinal Zen – Via Nova Media
  2. European Parliament calls on Vatican to support Cardinal Zen | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers
  3. Europe calls on Pope to support Cardinal Zen - California Catholic Daily

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