December 01, 2014

China Update from the Rome Office of Aid-to-the-Church-in-Need

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun,
Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong
The following news article was sent to me
from the Brooklyn office of the internation-
al charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN),
in the hope that I would post it at my Marian
site.  I couldn't refuse do so, and I only edit-
ed its grammatical and syntactical errors.

The article below was written by the head
of the Communications Department in the
ACN Rome office and it addresses the alle-
gation that Catholicism and Christianity per
se is still being persecuted in the nation that
has exported a lot of slave labor merchandise
to America in recent decades.  The Church
still suffers in China.  The Boxer Rebellion
still echoes throughout that land. --- Patrick.

Chinese regime said to intensify persecution of Christians

By Marta Petrosillo

ROME (Nov. 25, 2014)—

We shouldn’t get our hopes up.   I don’t see any sign of an immediate im-
provement in China-Holy See relations.”   Thus commented Cardinal Joseph
Zen Ze-kiun,  former bishop of Hong Kong,  while reflecting on a symposium
about China, held at the the Pontifical Urbaniana University, here in Rome.

The Nov. 18 event was sponsored by AsiaNews.  Now 82, the bishop told the
international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, that, “as in every re-
lationship, [progress] depends on both sides,” adding that it’s not possible to
expect any improvement until the Chinese government changes its policy on
religion.   The Pope knows the situation.  He is patient and ready to work
hard to improve the relationship and the situation of the Chinese Church.
However, he is also aware that the process can be long,” the prelate said.

In speaking about the situation of the Catholics in China, Cardinal Zen criti-
cized Beijing as followsThe Chinese government has intensified perse-
cution recently.  We have seen demolished churches and crosses taken off
of buildings.  There’s not much for which we can hope, immediately.  The
Church is still enslaved by the government.”

Cardinal Zen does not think that now is a propitious time for the Pope to visit
China. “I would strongly recommend he not go, because the current circum-
stances are not the right ones.” According to the cardinal, the Chinese govern-
ment isn’t making any effort to improve the Chinese Church’s situation nor to
improve its relationship withVatican.  He believes a papal trip would probably
be stage-managed by Beijing.   “They would not let the Pope meet the people
he would like to meet and they will try to force Francis to meet the people
they want him to meet.  The only outcome of such a visit will be good 
people suffering and the Pope’s goodwill being misused,” the cardinal

The cardinal also commented on the situation in Hong Kong, where protests
against China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 general elections are still on-
going.  Protests started as authorities tried to mar the elections by limiting the
list of candidates to figures who would be “acceptable” to Beijing.  Cardinal
Zen strongly supports the so-called Occupy Central protests.  He personally
marched among the students who started the peaceful occupation of the city’s
financial district.   “We cannot expect to win immediately, but as long as we
have freedom of speech, we should keep fighting, even though victory is not
close,” he said.

Cardinal Zen did charge that the student leaders “went too fast” and were not
realistic about their chances of success. “We should stay united, as we were
at the start of the protest, but the student leaders began to run on their own
without listening to the rest of us,” said the cardinal.  At the Asia News Sym-
posium, the cardinal told his audience that when Pope Francis greeted him
(after Paul VI’s beatification Mass), the Pontiff said of him, “This is the one
who fights with a sling,” in a reference to the cardinal’s participation in the
protests. “He didn’t mean to make fun of me, but to encourage me,” Zen
said, adding that “when [Pope Francis] was serving in Buenos Aires, he
always fought for freedom and the poor.  So he understands our position.”

Cardinal Zen praised the strong support of Hong Kong’s Church for the people
of the island. “The Church, thanks to a competent Commission for Justice
and Peace, is backing the population in its fight for democracy, following
the Church’s social teaching to the letter,” he said.
From the editor:

Aid to the Church in Need was founded in the ruins of WWII, during the Christmas
of 1947.   It's chain of command literary begins with the Chair of Peter and it's the
Catholic Church's version of the historic Marshall Plan.   As the title indicates, its
clientele are those in need ... sometimes in immediate need.

If you wish to be part of the ACN mission, even in something as simple as donating
Mass stipends, feel free to contact Michael Varenne at
You're also welcomed to contact ACN via:

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                     725 Leonard St.                                Phone:    718-609-0939
                     PO Box 220384                            Toll Free:   800-628-6333
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                                      Sincerely, Patrick Anthony Pontillo