Although the Hong Kong daily said the advanced copy would be a simple “courtesy gesture” on the part of the Holy See, other media outlets consider it a demand of the Chinese government in order to possibly censure the message.
According to the paper, Hong Kong’s Bishop, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, said the gesture would give the Chinese government “time to assimilate the details and prepare its reaction,” but not “the opportunity to negotiate changes to the content of the letter.”
The letter, which was announced by the Holy See’s Press Office on January 20th, has already been written in Italian and will be sent to Beijing when its Chinese and English translations are completed.
In March, Cardinal Zen said the letter would “focus on pastoral issues more than on diplomacy, as the letter is not being sent to the Chinese government, but rather to the faithful in China. The Pope’s concern is not diplomacy but rather the propagation of the faith.”
.- The South China Morning Post reported this Saturday that the Beijing government will receive a copy of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Catholics five days before it is released to the general public.