[February 12, 2018] It has been said that the world’s intellectual elites have been attacking Christianity generally and Roman Catholicism specifically for at least a century. Communist nations led this effort but there is one person who stands up against the state’s efforts and that man is Cardinal Joseph Zen.
Cardinal Zen is well known for his outspokenness on issues regarding human rights, political freedom, and religious liberty. He often attracts criticism from the Communist Party of China and other elites in the West for efforts to promote Catholicism and his support of Christianity.
“Yet it is not my blood that has been shed — it is the bleeding tears from the numerous, nameless, heroes in both the official and underground churches who have suffered for being faithful to the church.” – Cardinal Joseph Zen, Chinese cardinal of the Catholic Church and the sixth Bishop of Hong Kong
His most recent outspokenness is over the Vatican’s rapprochement with the Chinese government. Currently, China selects senior church members in all faiths, discourages religion, and has a record of persecution. Nearly 70 years ago after China and the Vatican severed diplomatic relations, the two sides recently reached a framework accord on the thorny issue of who gets to appoint new Chinese bishops.1
“They [the Chinese government] are not going to make good choices for the Church … surely they choose the one they prefer, which means the one who always obeys the government. So how (could) the Holy Father approve such a choice?” – Cardinal Zen
Cardinal Zen has let it be known that he is highly skeptical of a deal that would reportedly give Pope Francis the final say in the appointment of bishops, as the key part of the agreement. Bringing his well-reasoned arguments up at such a sensitive time shows us how his moral courage, in the face of a powerful Chinese government and the Vatican, helps Catholicism.
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