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03/17/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – The beatification process of Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin-mei has stalled, with the Vatican stating China-Vatican diplomatic sensitivity as the cause of the delay. Cardinal Kung is viewed as an icon of papal loyalty for spending 30 years in a Chinese jail for refusing to disown the church. The 20-year anniversary of his death recently passed on March 12.

The Vatican has not yet started the Cardinal’s beatification process. Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, commented saying, “pushing for Cardinal Kung’s beatification is a waste of time, and the Vatican would not accept it”. He also claims that although the Vatican could offer an exception to begin the beatification process, they are delaying it as to not offend China. As a result of the Vatican-Sino agreement, some have concluded that the Vatican is more pressured to appoint bishops than complete beatification processes currently.

Cardinal Kung was imprisoned in 1955, just four years after China and the Vatican ended diplomatic relations. He was eventually released in 1986 and remained on house arrest for two years following. His arrest by the communist government was a step towards attempts to control the Catholic Church. This pushed the divide seen today in the state-sanctioned churches and the underground churches that refuse to be affiliated with the Chinese government.

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