Underground Church ‘doomed to disappear’

Cardinal Joseph Zen (CNS/Bobby Yip, Reuters)

Cardinal Joseph Zen says the situation of the Church in China is dire and he predicts the end of the underground Church. Source: CNA.

“The situation is very bad. And the source is not the Pope. The Pope doesn’t know much about China,” the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong said on Tuesday.

“The Holy Father Francis shows special affection to me,” Cardinal Zen said, but added that he is in confrontation with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

“I’m fighting Parolin. Because the bad things come from him,” Cardinal Zen added.

Cardinal Parolin, Cardinal Zen said, is “so optimistic about the so-called ‘Ostpolitik’, the compromise.”

But, the cardinal told CNA, “you cannot compromise” with the Chinese Communist Party, whom he called “persecutors” of the faith.

“They want complete surrender. That’s communism.”

Cardinal Zen was in Washington, DC, to meet with members of Congress at the office of Congressman Chris Smith.

After the meeting, Mr Smith said Cardinal Zen “is a St Paul of our time, who is not only a holy and an effective witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is also a man of great truth about what is really happening in China.”

During the meeting, the cardinal and the members of Congress talked about China’s “Sinicisation” program of religious practice in the country and the government’s years-long effort to forcibly bring religion under its control.

“I think it’s had a paralysing effect on the Catholic Church,” Mr Smith said.

In 2018, the Holy See and China reached an agreement on the ordination of bishops in Chinese dioceses, giving the regime a voice in the selection and vetting of episcopal candidates. That agreement was supposed to unify the Church in China by bringing the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association into communion with the Holy See and unifying it with the underground Church loyal to Rome.

“More and more, the Church [is] under persecution,” Cardinal Zen said, “both the official Church, and the underground.”

The underground Church, he said, “is doomed to disappear,” as older bishops loyal to the faith are dying and no new bishops are being appointed - meaning no new priests can be ordained.


Cardinal Zen to Congressmen: China wants Vatican 'surrender' (CNA) 

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