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Revelations from Cardinal Zen on the Pending Vatican Betrayal of the Catholics of China

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 30, 2018

Sandro Magister has published on his blog site a letter addressed to the media by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, who has over the past 20 years staunchly opposed the slow-motion sellout of the “underground” (i.e., true) Catholic Church in China, a betrayal that appears to have gone into high gear during this pontificate.

Cardinal Zen recounts his recent audience with Pope Francis, during which he protested “legitimate bishops being asked by the ‘Holy See’ to resign and make place for illegitimate, even explicitly excommunicated, ‘bishops’” of the so-called Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), the pseudo-Church created by the communist dictatorship in Beijing.  In particular, the Cardinal spoke with the Pope about the Vatican’s demand that Bishop Zhuang, the true Catholic bishop of Shantou, resign in favor of Huang Bingzhang, whom even the New York Times calls “an excommunicated bishop and a member of China's rubber-stamp Parliament, the National Peoples’ Congress.”

The Cardinal first notes that when earlier informed of the situation in Shantou and Mindong by Chinese Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the Pope had professed to Hon that he was “surprised and promised to look into the matter.” Subsequent Vatican actions this past December, however, indicated that the Pope had done nothing to prevent the sacking of two authentic Catholic bishops in favor of two schismatic puppets of the Beijing regime.  This led to Cardinal Zen’s trip to Rome and his successful delivery of Bishop Zhuang’s protest into the hands of the Pope at a general audience, which was followed by the Pope’s granting of an audience with the Cardinal that took place on January 14.

The Cardinal reveals what the Pope told him during the audience, despite any claim of “confidentiality,” because “knowing directly the situation of Shantou and indirectly that of Mindong [the locale of the other bishop asked to resign]… [I] feel duty-bound to share my knowledge of the facts, so that the people sincerely concerned with the good of the Church may know the truth to which they are entitled…. [M]y conscience tells me that in this case the ‘right to truth’ should override any such 'duty of confidentiality.’”

During the half-hour of conversation he had with Francis, Cardinal Zen felt that he was able “to convey to the Holy Father the worries of his faithful children in China.” But when he asked the Pope “whether he had had time ‘to look into the matter’ [as he promised Archbishop Savio Hon],” the Pope replied “Yes, I told them [his collaborators in the Holy See] not to create another Mindszenty case”! (A reference to Cardinal Josef Mindszenty, the Archbishop of Budapest and Cardinal Primate of Hungary under the Communists, who was sentenced to life in prison and subjected to torture until his liberation during the anti-communist Revolution of 1956.  The Vatican under Paul VI shamefully ordered him to leave Hungary to make way for a successor agreeable to the Communists after the revolution failed.)

Unfortunately, it seems that this is another case of the Pope telling someone what he wants to hear, followed by either no action or precisely the opposite of what was promised, as we saw with the Pope’s promise that “soon, soon” the persecution of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate would end, following which the order was totally destroyed.

One must agree with Cardinal Zen when he declares himself “a pessimist regarding the present situation of the Church in China” based on his “long direct experience of the Church in China.”  Moreover, he observes that “from the recent information, there is no reason to change that pessimistic view. The Communist Government is making new harsher regulations limiting religious freedom. They are now strictly enforcing regulations which up to now were practically only on paper (from the 1st of February 2018 attendance to Mass in the underground will no longer be tolerated).”

As to the claim that the Vatican is trying to reach an agreement with Beijing to avoid a schism, the Cardinal responds with the ridicule the claim deserves: “How ridiculous! The schism is there, in the Independent Church! The Popes avoided using the word ‘schism’ because they knew that many in the official Catholic community were there not by their own free will, but under heavy pressure. The proposed ‘unification' would force everybody into that community. The Vatican would be giving the blessing on the new strengthened schismatic Church, salving the bad consciences of all those who are already willing renegades and those others who would readily join them.”

Cardinal Zen points to the obvious truth that there can never be any “‘mutual’ [agreement] with a totalitarian regime… Either you surrender or you accept persecution, but remaining faithful to yourself (can you imagine an agreement between St. Joseph and King Herod?).”  But an agreement with Herod is precisely what the Vatican seems intent on reaching.

The Cardinal concludes his statement by answering his own questions:

“So, do I think that the Vatican is selling out the Catholic Church in China? Yes, definitely, if they go in the direction which is obvious from all what they are doing in recent years and months….

“Am I the major obstacle in the process of reaching a deal between the Vatican and China? If that is a bad deal, I would be more than happy to be the obstacle.”

In any case, it would be foolish to place any great reliance on what Francis told the Cardinal during the audience.  The plan to sell out the Catholic Church in China has long been in the making, and the apostasy that “begins at the top” shows no signs of reversing itself.  Quite the contrary, it seems to be racing toward a dramatic resolution in circumstances that will be devastating for both the Church and the world.  Such would be the final outcome of despising the prophecy of Fatima.