Cardinal Zen: ‘A schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!’

Cardinal Joseph Zen

In a post on the Catholic Herald entitled ‘In praise of China’s outspoken cardinal’, Fr Raymond de Souza reports:

“Cardinal Zen has history on his side, and he knows China better than any in the Vatican diplomatic corps. [T]he emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, will not go away quietly. Which makes it difficult for the Vatican diplomats to go quietly and cut a deal with Chinese regime. What is playing out now, as the Holy See reportedly nears a deal with China on normalising relations, revisits a centuries-long debate about how the Church should deal with hostile, persecuting powers.

CP&S comment– One thing is certain, making a “deal” with “hostile, persecuting powers” is most definitely not the solution! But that is exactly what appears to be the plan of Pope Francis’ Vatican diplomats. Such a deal would be tantamount to throwing all those faithful Chinese Catholics of the underground Church to the lions. Have they not already suffered enough for their loyalty and devotion to Christ’s Church all these years under Communist interference and persecution, valiantly resisting any type of compromise with the truth? If this “deal” goes ahead with the atheistic Communist Government, it would be the ultimate betrayal.

Cardinal Zen has been doing everything in his power to put a stop to this “deal” and to open the eyes of the Pope and his aides of the terrible consequences that would follow if they were to go ahead.


Cardinal Zen: ‘A schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!’

ROME, February 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen issued another strongly-worded criticism today of the Vatican’s proposed deal with China’s Communist regime, suggesting it would amount to a papal endorsement of schism.

“There is no reason to fear a schismatic church created by the [Communist] party. It will fade with the collapse of the regime,” he wrote. “But a schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!”

Cardinal Zen’s comments came in response to a recent interview with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, published in the Italian daily La Stampa. Zen posted the commentary on his blog in both Chinese and Italian.

Reading the interview “disgusts me,” the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong said.

He accused Cardinal Parolin of shedding “crocodile tears” for persecuted Catholics in China, saying he “adores Ostpolitik” but “despises the genuine faith of those who firmly defend the Church, founded by Jesus on the Apostles.”

Parolin professes to bring healing to persecuted Catholics in China through “the balm of mercy,” Zen said, but in reality he is “rubbing salt in their wounds” by rewarding traitors, castigating the faithful, and “forcing a legitimate bishop to cede his post to an excommunicated one.”

The “most repugnant thing” Zen said he found in the interview was Parolin’s “dishonest exploitation” of Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter to Catholics in China. He charged the Vatican Secretary of State with “manipulating” the letter to make himself appear to be a “faithful supporter” of Benedict’s work, when he actually “thwarted all of Pope Ratzinger’s efforts to bring the Church in China back to the right path.”

In the lengthy blogpost, Cardinal Zen also spoke of his relationship with Pope Francis. He said he is sorry if his revelation of their private conversations caused the Holy Father any embarrassment. But he said he “remains convinced” that there is a “divide” between the Pope’s thinking and that of his collaborators, and that they are “having a field day taking advantage of the Pope’s optimism to pursue their goals.”

“The communists want to enslave the Church,” he said. “There are those who refuse this slavery, and there are those who submit to it. Unfortunately, there are also those who embrace it.”

If one day the Holy See were to sign a “bad agreement” with China with the Pope’s approval, Cardinal Zen said he would “withdraw in silence to a ‘monastic life.’” In the meantime, he urged the faithful to pray for the Pope, that the Lord may “save him from the hands of his enemies.”

Here below is a LifeSite translation from the Italian of Cardinal Zen’s full text. The [underlined] emphasis is the cardinal’s.


I still can’t understand understand what they are dialoguing with China over

by Cardinal Joseph Zen

[Read it over on LifeSiteNews]


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6 Responses to Cardinal Zen: ‘A schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!’

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    After reading Hilaire Belloc’s book on The Great Heresies, i see that cardinal Zen is very right about resisting a deal with communism. Not Good. But persecutions may result by resisting which would be sad. Hope cdl Zen can hold strong. He needs rosaries!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Withdrawing in silence to the monastic life” isn’t exactly what the Church needs to push True Catholicism back into the Vatican. We need more Lefebvre-minded bishops. I also have several, and throughly enjoy Mr. Belloc’s works.


  3. kathleen says:

    Fr Raymond de Souza (in his article on the CH) was not exaggerating when he referred to “a centuries-ong debate about how the Church should deal with hostile, persecuting powers”. Unfortunately, for the last hundred years or so, this “debate” has been pretty much nothing less than a weak capitulation to these sinister “powers” on the condition the Church would be left alone. You cannot strike a deal with the Devil (the Father of Lies), and therefore these “deals” were invariably unsuccessful.

    In a well-researched look-back at recent Church history on this subject, On the Vatican’s Reported Capitulation to Beijing, George Weigel gives a run down of one disaster after another when these submissive tactics were used and failed. Then getting onto the topic of China and the removal of the faithful underground bishops China and this treacherous proposal to make a deal with the ruling Communist Party, he says:

    “The truth of the matter is that, today, the only power the Holy See wields is moral power, the slow accretion of moral authority that has come to Catholicism, as embodied by the pope, through the Church’s sometimes sacrificial defense of the human rights of all. How playing Let’s Make a Deal with totalitarians in Beijing who at this very moment are imprisoning and torturing Christians adds to the sum total of Catholicism’s moral authority, or the papacy’s, is, to put it gently, unclear. The same might be said for the de facto betrayal of Rome-loyal bishops in China who are now, it seems, being asked to step aside so that they can be replaced by bishops essentially chosen by the Chinese Communist Party apparatus. This is far less realism than a species of cynicism that ill befits a diplomacy presumably based on the premise that “the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

    According to a (sometimes dubious) source, Pope Pius XI once said that he would deal with the Devil himself if doing so would accomplish something good and help the Church in its mission. I imagine that if he did say that, it was during one of that crusty pontiff’s crustier moments, and an expression of his own willingness to face down the powers of Hell if necessary. But as strategy in the gray twilight zone of world politics, dealing with the Devil — at least as Vatican diplomacy has done in dealing with totalitarianisms — has never worked out. Consorting with the Devil’s agents is a ticklish business; assuming their willingness to abide by agreements (much less their goodwill) is folly; and carrying the sulfurous odor of too much contact with the Devil’s legions does absolutely nothing to advance the evangelical mission of the Church.*

    In fact, it does just the opposite.”

    *(my emphasis)


  4. kathleen says:

    @ tradcat4christ

    ”Withdrawing in silence to the monastic life” isn’t exactly what the Church needs to push True Catholicism back into the Vatican.

    I agree. In hindsight, after these last disastrous five years where the Church has been plunged (under its new Marxist-type leadership) into a state of total perplexity and confusion, Pope Benedict’s stepping down from the Papacy can only be seen as a grave mistake.

    Your suggestion that we need more “Lefebvre-minded bishops” reminds me of the comparison discussed in this great post I read a few days ago, Similarities Between the SSPX and China’s Underground Catholic Church.


  5. @ tradcat4christ You say, “Withdrawing in silence to the monastic life” isn’t exactly what the Church needs to push True Catholicism back into the Vatican.

    I keep silence quite a lot of the time now on matters Catholic, and I begin to see that my own journey has involved too much engagement with Church politics and fights about issues that are so soon forgotten; but I still read the opinions of others without commenting much.

    I simply want to say that there is a great deal of wisdom in Cardinal Zen’s laudable proposal that his activism could lead into a new stage of his witness, in the silence of monastic life.

    This is where the combat against the demons is truly most effective. But there is one other advantage to this route, which could be easily overlooked, and it feeds directly back into that activism. When one who has been active in the world to the extent that Cardinal Zen has been, and moves to a contemplative role, this is a “withdrawal” but not a “retirement”. What is often highly valuable in such a role is the advice that such a contemplative can give to others who will go to that monastery to seek him out. Through the Christian ages, the wisdom of those who have withdrawn to monastic life has served to guide and help charge the spirit of hundreds more who will then take up the battle.

    Contemplation in a world of action, a phrase used one by Merton for the title of one of his books that inspired so many men to seek monastic life, has a very key role in the life of the Church. It feeds back into the activism we often see as the real battle.


  6. mary salmond says:

    Kathleen: read the article on SSPX and Underground China comparison. I’m thinking that if we were put under the same circumstances, persecution and death, many of our clerics and laity would go underground to preserve what we know as truth. Isn’t that what the catacombs were about? A government that was slaughtering people, but those living wanted to “keep the faith” by continuing to keep it alive and known amongst believers.


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