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ICC Note:

Cardinal Joseph Zen spoke against the upcoming agreement between the Vatican and Beijing. While some have viewed it as a move that would bring greater freedom to practice Catholicism in China, Zen warned that it would surrender Catholic principles to the Chinese state. Currently, many of the estimated 7 million underground Catholics in China experience persecution, and Chinese Catholic clergy are often jailed or imprisoned for their appointment without the approval of the state. Zen warns that the deal would surrender the Pope’s authority to appoint clergy to the atheistic Chinese government and ultimately place the state in the position of authority over Catholics, an authority he says, “is given to the church by its founder Jesus Christ.” Zen adds, “I would prefer no bishops, with fake bishops you are destroying the church.”

11/4/2016 China (The Wall Street Journal) – Cardinal Joseph Zen, the most senior Chinese cleric in the Catholic Church, believes the Vatican is fast approaching a tragic mistake in China.

Within days church leaders could conclude a landmark agreement with the Chinese government after 65 years of acrimony and persecution. Pope Francis isn’t known to have signed off, and before he does Cardinal Zen prays to be heard.

The former bishop of Hong Kong speaks with passion that belies his age (84) and recent hospitalization for a lung virus. As we meet at the church complex where he has lived since 2009—and where he first moved as a novitiate from Shanghai in 1948—he warns of “surrender”: that Chinese leaders are demanding it and Vatican officials appear willing to give it “in the hopes of achieving an agreement.”

Proponents say the deal would help millions of “underground” Catholics and open the world’s most populous country for evangelization. Cardinal Zen says it would sacrifice church principles, abandon the faithful, undermine evangelization and invite further repression.

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