HONG KONG (LifeSiteNews) – The trial of Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop emeritus, Cardinal Joseph Zen, has been delayed after a judge tested positive for COVID-19.
The Vatican is still refusing to offer any public support for the cardinal.
Hong Kong media reported Saturday that the trial would be postponed until at least September 21, after the judge, Presiding Magistrate Ada Him Shunyee (Shunyi) tested positive for COVID-19. Citing “sources close to the case,” Catholic news outlet The Pillar then reported late Tuesday that the trial would not begin until next week.
The trial had been due to start September 19 with a verdict due by Friday the 23rd.
612 Fund trustees facing fines or jail term
Cardinal Zen was arrested in May under the terms of the draconian 2020 National Security Law. He was taken into police custody along with four other trustees of the now defunct 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund who now join him in court. The four trustees are former opposition legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee; singer Denise Ho Wan-sze; cultural studies professor Hui Po Keung; and activist Sze Ching-wee.
The fifth trustee who joins Zen in court, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, was already in jail for “illegal assemblies.”
The Fund was established to offer “legal, medical, psychological, and emergency financial assistance” to those involved in the 2019 protests against the government’s Extradition Law Amendment Bill, which sought to allow prisoners to be transferred to mainland China for trial.
All trustees pleaded not guilty upon their arrest in May. While they were arrested under the terms of the National Security Law, they are now being charged with failing to apply properly for registration for the 612 Fund.
AsiaNews reports that “at best,” Zen and his 5 colleagues in the dock face a fine of US $1,750. However, a jail sentence could nevertheless be handed out.
At a pre-trial in August, the court ruled the trial will be held in Chinese, with the closing arguments to be made in English.
Vatican increasingly siding with Beijing
Despite increasing outrage from concerned Catholics and even the mainstream media, the Vatican is remaining silent on Zen’s trial. In fact, Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin have instead signalled their alignment with Beijing, rather than with the beleaguered, 90-year-old prelate.
Speaking to reporters on the papal flight from Kazakhstan, Pope Francis refused to support Zen, or to describe China as “undemocratic.” The Pope also suggested that Zen was to blame for his trial: “Cardinal Zen is going to trial these days, I think. And he says what he feels, and you can see that there are limitations there.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Fr. James Altman, and two dozen more faithful Catholic priests & scholars are publicly calling out Pope Francis for his outrageous, dangerous, and heretical teaching concerning reception of Holy Communion.
Pope Francis stated that "faith" is the only requirement for those who wish to receive Holy Communion in his June 29 Apostolic Letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi.
This statement is dangerous because:
- The Council of Trent explicitly anathematized those who make this claim calling it 'heresy'
- Pope Francis omitted the essential step of repentance for sin to worthily receive the Eucharist.
- Pope Francis is thereby allowing the faithful to eat and drink condemnation on themselves, should they receive Holy Communion unworthily
- Pope Francis is supporting moral relativism, eradicating the clear distinction between good and evil
- Pope Francis is eradicating the need for the Sacrament of Confession
- Pope Francis is damaging the teaching office of the Church by sowing doubt and division among faithful Catholics
But there is a way to stop Pope Francis' modernist attack and defend the true Catholic teaching on Holy Communion.
Catholics everywhere must renounce Pope Francis' heresy and uphold the truth: only Baptized Catholics in the state of grace, and therefore free of mortal sin, can receive Holy Communion*.
For those in mortal sin, repentance and absolution must first be sought in the Sacrament of Confession before receiving the Eucharist*.
Pope Francis' statement would mislead many souls, which is why we need your help today to stand with Bishop Strickland, Fr. Altman, Bishop Schneider, and more.
TELL POPE FRANCIS: HOLY COMMUNION CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IN THE STATE OF GRACE!
The growing list of faithful Catholics who are standing for the truth and bravely resisting Pope Francis' attempt to dilute the Church's moral authority is only growing. This is great news, but the news can't simply stop with you.
You must join the growing list of supporters to but a STOP to Pope Francis' heresy.
WATCH: LifeSiteNews' co-CEO and Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen, fully breaks down the growing list of faithful Catholics choosing to resist Pope Francis' attack on the faith.
Stand with these faithful Catholics: Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop André Gracida, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, Father Gerald E. Murray, Father James Altman, Father John Lovell, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. John Lamont, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor Anna Silvas, Dr. Anthony Esolen, Professor John Rist, Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, Julia Meloni, George Neumayr, and LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen.
*However, if a Catholic is unable to attend Confession but has a grave reason for receiving the Eucharist (such as a priest who may be required to celebrate Mass at a given time but who is unable to go to Confession), such a person must be confident to the best of his ability that he have perfect contrition for any mortal sins that he may have committed before receiving Holy Communion in an exceptional situation.
Meanwhile Cardinal Parolin revealed that the Holy See was prepared to move its study mission in Hong Kong over to Beijing, and was just “waiting for a signal from Beijing, but that has not yet come.” Along with the Holy See’s presence in Taiwan, the Hong Kong study mission is the Vatican’s closest diplomatic link to China, given that it has no nunciature in Beijing.
For the Vatican to move the study mission to Beijing, it would necessarily have to cut ties with Taiwan, as China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation but simply a breakaway province.
Both Francis and Parolin have continually defended the Vatican’s secretive deal with China, which was first established in 2018, later renewed in 2020, and is up for renewal again this fall. Though still secret, it allegedly recognizes the state-approved church and allows the Chinese Communist Party to appoint bishops.
Pope Francis’ ‘dialogue at all costs’ is ‘wrong, naive’
In comments to LifeSiteNews, Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch highlighted the Vatican’s “clear marginalization” of Cardinal Zen.
“Pope Francis’ rather dismissive response to the question about Cardinal Zen’s trial is yet another deeply troubling example of the Vatican’s clear marginalization of Cardinal Zen,” he said.
These remarks, combined with his refusal to meet Cardinal Zen two years ago when he came to Rome to seek an audience with the Pope, and the apparent failure of the Vatican to appeal for Cardinal Zen to be able to travel to join the recent consistory, all indicate a shocking lack of concern, care and respect for one of the Church’s most senior and most courageous Cardinals.
Francis’ “emphasis on dialogue is admirable, but dialogue at all costs, including the Pope’s silence on major injustices in China, is wrong,” warned Rogers. “Open-ended dialogue, with no apparent conditions or stated objectives is naïve.”
The question that should be asked regarding dialogue between the Vatican and China is on whose terms, with what objectives and on what topics, and it appears currently to be on China’s terms, with no clear objectives and with human rights and religious freedom excluded from the conversation.
“That is too high a price to pay for dialogue for the sake of dialogue,” he said.