.- Cardinal Joseph Zen, archbishop of Hong Kong, says the Vatican will face "crucial moments" with China as it seeks to establish diplomatic ties with the communist government.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, the cardinal warned that the situation in China, with regards to the Catholic Church, is “still dangerous and confused.” The cardinal said he has heard of recent arrests of Catholic clergy.
Zen says there is reason to be cautious in the process of seeking normalization with China.
The cardinal said he regarded the recent “illegitimate ordinations” of a number of bishops without Vatican approval as "very serious wounds in the unity of the Church." He said these ordinations provide a reason to be less optimistic about the establishment of diplomatic ties with the China. Cardinal Zen also expressed skepticism about a possible papal visit to the communist country before the Beijing Olympics next year.
Cardinal Zen is in Rome for some talks just weeks before Pope Benedict is expected to issue a message to Chinese Catholics.
The letter is expected to express the Vatican’s interest in pursuing respectful and constructive dialogue with the Chinese government and to pay tribute to those Catholics who have suffered for their loyalty to the Pope.