In his March 3 letter, Zen wrote to Re that “if you want to prove to me that the recently signed agreement was already approved by Benedict XVI, you just have to show me the text of the agreement, which I am barred from seeing till now, and the archival evidence which you say you could verify.”
Zen’s more recent post claimed that while he has been critical of Re over the China deal, “The Problem is not between me and Re. The problem is with Cardinal Parolin.”
“It’s difficult to understand how this man has become so powerful to dominate the whole Roman Curia. He could dismiss the Commission for Church in China without a word and nobody stood up to protest against such impoliteness.”
Zen has previously alleged that Parolin closed the Vatican’s commission on the Church in China, which was established under Benedict XVI and included Vatican officials and Church leaders from the region, in order to silence criticism from Zen about the Church’s engagement with the Chinese government.
The cardinal’s March 21 post also criticized Parolin for assigning Archbishop Savio Hon, formerly the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the only high-ranking Chinese cleric in the curia, to a diplomatic post in Greece.
Those moves, Zen has claimed, made it easier for Parolin to execute the 2018 agreement with Beijing.
While Zen’s March 21 post criticized that agreement, calling it “immoral” and “against the Catholic conscience,” the cardinal reserved his most stringent criticism for a set of June 2019 “pastoral guidelines” issued by the Vatican, regarding the responsibilities of Chinese priests to the country’s government.
That document, Zen said, is “blatantly evil, immoral, because it legitimizes a schismatic Church!”
The Church in mainland China has been divided for some 60 years between the underground Church, which is persecuted and whose episcopal appointments are frequently not acknowledged by Chinese authorities, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a government-sanctioned organization.
Zen argued that the 2019 “pastoral guidelines” legitimize the false notion of a specifically “Chinese” Catholic Church “independent” from the oversight of the pope.
“Parolin has repeatedly affirmed that the word ‘independent’ should today no more be understood as “absolutely independent”, because in the Agreement the Pope is recognized as the Head of the Catholic Church (I cannot believe this, until they show me the Chinese text of the agreement),” Zen wrote.
After outlining the cardinal’s criticism, Zen’s March 21 blog post, expressed that “during the last 20 years, because of the wrong policy of the Holy See in dealing with the Church in China, pursued by a group of people who dared even not to follow the line of the Pope, the underground community was more and more like abandoned, considered inconvenient, almost as an obstacle to unity, while in the community officially recognized by the Government the “opportunists” grow more and more numerous, fearless and defiant because encouraged by people inside and around the Vatican, intoxicated by their illusions of the Ostpolitik.”
(Story continues below)
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“Are we going towards the unity of the Church in China?” Zen asked. “What kind of unity? Which kind of Church?”