Cardinal Zen: “We cannot renounce the principles of our faith and our basic ecclesiastical discipline, just to please the Beijing government.”

Cardinal Zen—who has been the leading voice of Catholicism in opposition to China’s efforts to control the Church—says that mixed signals from the Vatican are partly responsible for the fact that many bishops who profess loyalty to Rome participated in an illicit ordination of a government-backed bishop in November, and in the election of new leaders for the Catholic Patriotic Association: a group which Pope Benedict has denounced as divisive. The cardinal said that in the absence of clear guidance from Rome, many Chinese bishops are apt to follow commands from Beijing.

“Our bishops needed some supply of courage,” Cardinal Zen says, referring to the hierarchy in China. “But instead they received much misplaced compassion, which pushed them deeper and deeper into the mire of slavish subjection.”

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