Owing to Ash Wednesday falling this week, and because the day’s observances mark the commencement of Lent, there is no more suitable moment in the liturgical calendar for this country’s Roman Catholics to start paying attention to an unconscionable betrayal that His Holiness Pope Francis appears determined to visit upon the clandestine Catholic faithful in the People’s Republic of China.
This is not to be clever or gratuitously offensive. Lent sets aside 40 days to a righteous discipline of sacrifice and devotion, abstinence and repentance. It’s supposed to be a time to reflect upon the obligations of resistance to worldliness and the necessarily personal battles Catholics are duty bound to wage with evil. In that vein, then, in that struggle, in China, Pope Francis himself is giving every appearance of offering up abject surrender.
Even worse, says Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Pope is counselling China’s long-persecuted Catholics to follow his example and capitulate to the deepening tyranny of Xi Jinping’s ruling Communist Party. It is as though Pope Francis is telling faithful Chinese Catholics “You are stupid for being loyal for so many years. Now surrender,” Cardinal Zen told reporters the other day.
On Monday, retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen said he had flown to Rome to meet the pope on behalf of Bishop Zhuang. L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP
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Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen hands a letter to Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Jan. 10, 2018.
Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires in 1936, Pope Francis succeeded the dour, unpopular and private Pope Benedict XVI in 2013. Ever since, he has cultivated a glamorous reputation for championing social justice causes and the plight of the put-upon and marginalized. He routinely weighs in with uplifting and earnest homilies about refugees, climate change, violence against women, poverty, fake news and nuclear weapons. This is all very delightful.
But in China, Pope Francis has lately sided with an establishment faction in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps that is intent upon rapprochement with Beijing. Talks are closing in on a kind of merger between the Communist-controlled “Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association,” established by Mao Zedong in 1957, and China’s underground Catholic parishes.
The Communist-controlled church appoints its own bishops in defiance of Rome and disavows communion with Catholics who …read more
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