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ICC Note: Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen expressed his concerns for Pope Francis’ sympathetic attitude towards CCP as China and Vatican are on the verge of forming diplomatic relations. While the Vatican maintains the global right to appoint bishops, Beijing has appointed its own bishop through the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. A potential agreement between Holy See and Beijing will allow the atheist country to have the final say in the appointment of priests, and Mr. Zen urges Vatican to not make compromises with China on the issue of ordination of priests. However, it would be only a matter of time before Vatican establishes diplomatic ties with China and drops Taiwan.

10/06/2017 Hong Kong (Hong Kong Free Press) – Pope Francis does not understand the Chinese Communist Party, Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen has said, amid rumours that the Vatican is on the brink of forming diplomatic ties with China.

The Vatican currently has diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese government. But it has conducted secret negotiations with Beijing in recent years. Last month, Zen mentioned in his blog a potential agreement between the Vatican and Beijing whereby the atheist country will have the final say in the appointment of priests. He said that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

During a visit to Canada and the US, Zen, 85, criticised the optimistic attitude that he observed among top Vatican officials.

“The Chinese government has not made any concessions in the negotiations,” he told the Chinese-language World Journal in New York. “There are some things that we cannot make compromises.”

He told the newspaper that Pope Francis was from South America and was sympathetic to communists: “He does not understand the Chinese Communist Party at all.”

The Chinese government has arrested a number of pastors following their opposition to the removal of publicly-displayed crosses in China. While the Vatican maintains the global right to appoint bishops, Beijing has appointed its own through the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association – the country’s party-controlled official church.

Zen said the Vatican was not listening to opposition opinion any more, after Savio Hon Tai-fai, a priest from Hong Kong at the Holy See, was appointed apostolic nuncio in Greece last month.

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