He suggested that the change could have been "caused by an erroneous translation from Chinese by the young minutante of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples," whom he said, as probably the only Chinese person in the congregation, is the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind, but is also partly responsible for the at least 10 mistakes in translating Benedict XVI's 2007 letter to Catholics in China.
"But given the intelligence of His Eminence, I hesitated to believe that he could have been misled," Cardinal Zen demurred. "It looks more probable that he willingly allowed himself to be cheated."
Cardinal Zen maintained he has "strong evidence" that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, "is manipulating the Holy Father, who always shows so much affection to me when we meet, but never answers my questions."
In the opening of his letter, Cardinal Zen told Cardinal Re that "I admire your courage in venturing into problems you yourself acknowledge to be complex, thus, risking the prestige of your newly inaugurated high office," adding that "we have nowadays this our 'vice pope' capable to infuse such courage in many workers in the Holy See" – a reference to Cardinal Parolin.
He addressed again the pope's pastoral guidelines concerning the civil registration of clergy in China, which recognize the choice of those who feel that they cannot in good conscience register with the government and accept sinicization, but encourage registration nevertheless.
Cardinal Re said the guidelines "were designed precisely to safeguard the faith," but Cardinal Zen wrote that he "could not understand them."
The Chinese cardinal wrote: "When many of my brothers in despair come to me for advice, I tell them: don't criticize those who follow the guideline from Rome. But since the guideline leaves room for objection of conscience, you can quietly retire into the state of catacombs and don't resist by force to any injustice, you could only suffer more losses. Am I wrong in all these?"
He concluded that he "100 percent agrees" with Cardinal Re's invitation to prayer. "I was aware that even the Holy See recommended that traditional invocation to Our Lady: 'Sub tuum praesidium' and the other to Archangel St. Michael."
Cardinal Zen added that there is also, obviously, the traditional prayer for the pope which concludes, "and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies."