VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – According to Vatican News, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has said of Cardinal Joseph Zen’s recent arrest and release in Hong Kong by the national security police that “the event should not be read as ‘a disavowal’ of the agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointments of bishops.”
The Secretary of State made the comments to reporters in Rome at an event held at the Pontifical Gregorian University conducted by the John Paul I Vatican Foundation. He said that he was “saddened” by the arrest, and expressed his “closeness to the cardinal, who was freed and treated well.” However, he voiced his hope that “initiatives such as this one will not complicate the already complex and not simple path of dialogue between the Holy See and the Church in China.”
Please SIGN this petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Joseph Zen following his arrest for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was arrested by the pro-China security police in Hong Kong in a major escalation of intimidation against pro-freedom activists in the region.
Zen was one of four people arrested on May 11th on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces", with the 90-year-old's detention marking the first high-profile move by Hong Kong's new Chief Executive, John Lee.
The Hong Kong security police targeted Zen as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided “legal, medical, psychological and emergency financial assistance” to those involved in the 2019 protests against the government’s Extradition Law Amendment Bill, which allows prisoners to be transferred to China for trial.
Cardinal Zen has since been released, but his passport was confiscated to prevent him leaving Hong Kong.
The arrest was made possible under the terms of Hong Kong’s draconian national security law, passed in 2020, which Zen warned would be used to silence the Church.
The outspoken cardinal previously confessed that he was prepared to go to prison under the terms of the new law, saying, “If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials, and arrests.”
Cardinal Zen is a hero to Hong Kongers, and needs the world to stand with him today.
SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Zen today.
The people of Hong Kong, including Cardinal Zen, have lived under the shadow of Beijing since 1997, and know personally how oppressive Chinese Communist Party rule is.
This arrest of a Catholic cardinal by communist authorities in Hong Kong is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of life for all citizens of the region.
Cardinal Zen's plight demands the attention of all people of good-will, as his spirit of resistance in the face of tyranny continues to inspire new generations of Hong Kongers to defy the horrors of communist rule.
Please stand with Cardinal Zen today - SIGN and SHARE this petition calling for an end to the intimidatory tactics of the Chinese Communist Party's proxy leaders in Hong Kong.
In April, Parolin told CNA in an interview that he hoped to renew, with some modifications, the agreement between the Vatican and Beijing, which is set to expire in October. The precise text of the agreement, first signed in September 2018 and renewed in 2020, has never been revealed publicly. However, it is known that the agreement allows the Chinese government, run by the Communist Chinese Party (CCP), exclusively to propose to the Holy See the names of candidates for episcopal appointment in China.
In September 2018, Zen called for Parolin to resign over the Vatican-Beijing deal, declaring it “an incredible betrayal” of the underground Catholic Church in China. “I don’t think he has faith,” Zen said of Parolin. “He is just a good diplomat in a very secular, mundane meaning. He should resign. It’s a complete surrender … I have no other words.”
In October 2018, Cardinal Gerhard Müller told EWTN that he trusted Cardinal Zen’s assessment of how the Church should deal with the CCP and questioned whether a deal could be made with “communist atheists.”
“I trust more in Cardinal Zen,” Müller said, “because he has all the experience with the Communists and with their lies and the persecution they have made. Surely the Pope has the office and the task to recall these schismatics to the full communion of the Church, but the question is, ‘What is the price for it?’ Can we make a deal, the Holy Church, the Body of Christ, with communist atheists?”
The Holy See’s present allowance of the Chinese government to propose names for episcopal consecration stands in direct violation of the Code of Canon Law, which stipulates, “The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those legitimately elected” (can. 377, §1). The Code expressly forbids any interference of civil authorities in the matter of episcopal appointment, declaring, “In the future, no rights and privileges of election, nomination, presentation, or designation of bishops are granted to civil authorities” (can. 377 §5).