Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 22, 2022 / 11:08 am
Pope Francis on Sunday said he is praying for the Church in China and “attentively and actively following the often complex life and situations of the faithful and pastors” there.
In brief remarks to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Caeli prayer on May 22, the pope did not specifically mention the recent arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun in Hong Kong.
The 90-year-old former bishop of Hong Kong was arrested May 11 under China’s national security law with at least four others for his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong pay their legal fees. He was released on bail later that day.
Pope Francis did draw special attention to the fact that Tuesday, May 24 — when Zen is reportedly due back in court — is the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI decreed in 2007 that the date be observed worldwide as “a day of prayer for the Church in China.”