July 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Zen, the first Cardinal from China and a key adviser to Pope Benedict XVI regarding China-Vatican relations, has denounced a new Vatican agreement with the Chinese atheistic Communist government in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana. The former Archbishop of Hong Kong compared the current situation of the Church in China with the times of brutal physical repression during the 1950s and 1960s, saying the situation is “worse” today.
“Why? Because the church has been weakened,” he said. “I'm very sorry to say the government has not changed, but the Holy See is adopting a wrong strategy. They are too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.”
Explaining how the intolerable situation has come to pass, he suggests that Pope Francis is naïve having only experienced communism in Latin America, not a totalitarian form as in China or Poland. Thus, he says, both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI understood the situation while Pope Francis is confused.
“On the surface,” he said of the new agreement it seems that “the authority of the Pope is safe because they say the Pope has the last word.”
“But the whole thing is fake. They are giving decisive power to the government … how can the initiative of choosing bishops be given to an atheistic government? Incredible. Incredible.”
The 85-year-old Cardinal, born in Shanghai, explains that while Pope Francis might believe everything is fine with the agreement because “on paper” the government approves the election at the bishops’ conference and then the Pope has the last word. “But both election and the Bishops Conference are fake,” and the Pope cannot say no to suggested bishops forever.
Zen says there are no real elections in China. “Everything is fixed before.”
“I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops' conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey. It’s fake.”
Cardinal Zen recalled that Pope Benedict stated there is no legitimate bishops’ conference in China. There are illegitimate bishops in that conference and legitimate underground bishops who are not in it, the Cardinal explained.
Responding to the objection that some may suggest that historically some kings or emperors were able to make bishops, Cardinal Zen said: “But at least those were Christian kings or Christian emperors. But these are atheist communists. They want to destroy the church or at least if they cannot destroy it they want to weaken the church.”