"There is a group of young Catholics [in Hong Kong] who are very strongly against this nomination" he said. The cardinal added that they hoped the Vatican might revisit the decision before it was publicly announced.
"The Catholic establishment [in Hong Kong] is divided," Zen said. "They say that the future bishop needs the blessing of Beijing."
The cardinal mentioned broad support among local Catholics for Hong Kong auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, who is associated with the protestors on the island, and has appeared at several demonstrations.
Last month, CNA reported that Bishop Ha had been initially selected by the Vatican to lead the Hong Kong diocese, but the decision was reversed after Ha was pictured at the front of a pro-democracy street demonstration.
"We have an auxiliary bishop, Bishop Ha, [who is] very good, and really a wise leader of the community during these last months," Zen said.
"But I know that the actual pontifical delegate, Cardinal Tong, he receives instructions from the Vatican and must follow those instructions – I suppose they are always on the line of compromise."
CNA reported last month that Cardinal Tong had recommended against an announcement of Fr. Choy's appointment until the political situation on the island had stabilized.
On Jan. 16, CNA asked Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See Secretary of State, about the selection of Fr. Choy to lead the Hong Kong diocese, and about the decision of the Vatican's decision to delay announcing the appointment.
On Feb. 15, a spokesman for Cardinal Parolin told CNA that the cardinal had no comments on Fr. Choy's reported selection or on the timing of any announcement of a new Bishop of Hong Kong.
Ed Condon is a canon lawyer and worked as Catholic News Agency's Washington DC editor until December 2020.