Church in China

Cardinal Zen says China’s actions are “acts of war”

Cardinal Joseph Zen
Cardinal Joseph Zen

.- The leading Roman Catholic Bishop of China, Cardinal Joseph Zen has once again spoken out against the Communist government’s recent decisions to appoint bishops without the Vatican’s permission.  The Archbishop of Hong Kong told the BBC late last week that the Chinese government is waging a war to destroy the Church.

Speaking to the BBC in London on Friday, Cardinal Zen denounced three episcopal appointments and subsequent ordinations conducted by the government-controlled church of China over the past year, saying, “These three illegitimate ordinations ... are acts of war against the church.”

The archbishop, who recently took part in a Vatican conference on the Church’s future in China, also criticized Chinese government’s claims that the Vatican is meddling in state business by insisting on control over the appointment of bishops.

"So how can you say that we opt for confrontation? They are waging a war, they want to destroy the church," said Zen, the head of Hong Kong's Catholic dioceses and a Vatican adviser on Chinese affairs.

Zen, who has been a constant voice regarding the Church’s right to religious freedom in China, said China's refusal to recognize the Vatican's authority had overturned two decades of compromise efforts.

China welcomed the Catholic Church’s call for a “respectful and constructive dialogue,” following last month’s Vatican summit.  But, while the government says it wants to work with the Holy See, it continues to demand the Church relinquish its authority over Chinese clerics and discontinue diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.  

China's 10 million Catholics are divided between an underground Church loyal to the Holy See and a state-run Church which rejects Papal authority on such matters as episcopal appointments, but attempts to follow most other Catholic teachings.

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