Cardinal Zen says time not right yet for papal visit to China


The Archbishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, said from Turin this week that “the time has not yet come for the Pope to visit China,” as “his trip would be used by the government, would be misunderstood and would do nothing for the faithful of the Roman Church.”

“In China there is no religious freedom or freedom of the press, and although the government wants you to think it is opening up in view of the Olympic Games, it controls the internet all the time,” Cardinal Zen said.

The cardinal recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Catholics in which he called on Communist authorities to guarantee “authentic religious freedom” to Chinese Catholics. He noted that after the release of the Pope’s letter, “nothing has changed.” Therefore, he said he was skeptical that Chinese officials would fulfill their promise to “halt the ordination of bishops” not approved by Rome during the Olympic period.

Although he acknowledged that “the Olympic Games can help change the current situation of repression,” Cardinal Zen warned that the “Chinese government, even in the pre-Olympic period, wants to control everything, it is omnivorous.”

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