Cardinal Joseph Zen has urged Australian Catholics to pray for Catholics in China enduring a “terrible situation” as a controversial Vatican-China agreement is renewed for two years. Source: The Catholic Weekly
In an exclusive interview by email the 88-year-old former archbishop of Hong Kong who has been an outspoken critic of the agreement said that Catholics in China cannot speak for themselves without “great danger” and need Catholics in other countries, including Pope Francis, to speak on their behalf.
Because the details of the agreement on the appointment of bishops have been kept secret it can only be judged on its effects so far, which are “very bad”, Cardinal Zen said.
He said the agreement allowed “opportunist” bishops to infiltrate the Catholic Church in China, risking making it largely an instrument of state policy.
The agreement also “did not stop the [Chinese Communist Party] from persecuting the Church, for example they forbid minors under 18 from entering churches and participating in any religious activity,” he explained.
The Cardinal urged Catholics in Australia to look for good information on the situation of churches in China. “Your conscience and your prayer may help you to discern,” he said.
Exclusive Interview with Cardinal Joseph Zen (By Peter Rosengren, The Catholic Weekly)