A prominent Chinese cardinal is speaking out against the Vatican's betrayal of Chinese Catholics. Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, spoke to Church Militant in New York last weekend.
Among other things, Zen explained that the Vatican-China agreement, enacted in 2018, has not been read by any Chinese prelate, including Zen. He also noted that the unsigned Vatican document ratifying the agreement encourages Catholics to join the schismatic Chinese Patriotic Church.
Zen told Church Militant:
So the first step was that secret agreement for the selection of bishops; and then the legitimization of the seven excommunicated bishops and asking the underground legitimate bishops to step down; and then, finally, last June came out that document, the so-called pastoral guidance, encouraging people to join the Patriotic Association. Incredible — so it's a total sellout.
He also disclosed that for years Chinese authorities did not heavily enforce the country's anti-Catholic laws, but since the Vatican-China accord, officials have been clamping down on underground Catholic communities with growing ferocity.
He noted authorities are now enforcing "The most terrible article" adding "that people under 18 years of age cannot join any religious activity. They are not allowed into the Church. Terrible — it is an old regulation. They didn't enforce that, but now they enforce [it]."
In August 2019, the Chinese Regulation on Religious Affairs published a document reiterating strict rules against "unofficial" religions, clamping down further on Muslims, protestant Christians and Catholics. It calls to "resolutely ban all forms of illegal religious propagation activities and consolidate the power at rural, grassroots levels."
Zen concluded that, without much prayer, the underground Church — professing the fullness of Catholic teaching — is in danger of being exterminated, while the Chinese Patriotic Church wears the Vatican-bestowed mantle of legitimacy.
To learn more, watch The Download—Zen Speaks.