In the South China Morning Post (4 July) there is another story on the ongoing joust between His Eminence Joseph Card. Zen Ze-kiun, Bishop of Hong Kong, and the layman who is vice chairman of mainland China’s government recognized Catholic Church, the Patriotic Association.
Card. Zen had participated in a pro-democracy march on the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s hand over to the mainland. Liu Bainian reacted with accusations that Card. Zen is muddying the waters and undermining the "trust" necessary to work according to the Letter issued by Pope Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics.
Here is the article from the SCMP:
Hong Kong’s Catholic leader says he is considering asking the faithful to send their counterparts across the border copies of the Pope’s letter to them as Beijing has increasingly been blocking communications.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun also said he was mystified over why mainland church official Liu Bainian had criticised him for taking part in the July 1 democracy march, adding that Mr Liu was perhaps "ignorant" about the freedom of speech enjoyed in Hong Kong.
Many mainland Catholics have still not seen the letter Pope Benedict issued on Saturday, in which he called for reconciliation between the state-recognised and underground communities and expressed a wish for Sino-Vatican dialogue. The internet has reportedly been blocked and church officials have failed to distribute copies.
Cardinal Zen said he would consider encouraging the faithful in Hong Kong to send their mainland counterparts copies of the letter.
"If only 10 copies out of every 100 we send can reach the mainland faithful, it would still help spread the message of love by the Holy Father," Cardinal Zen said.
He called on Beijing to allow open distribution of the religious document, which carries new directives on pastoral affairs. He said the Pope was not sending a political message but only cared for the development of the faith on the mainland.
Cardinal Zen said he was mystified over the criticism made on Monday by Mr Liu, a vice-chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
"Perhaps Liu Bainian was ignorant about the concept of ‘one country, two systems’ and perhaps he should seriously study what Gao Siren said on Sunday.
"People in Hong Kong have freedom different from those on the mainland," he said.
On Sunday, Mr Gao, director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, said the July 1 demonstration proved freedom of speech was still vibrant. "It is normal for citizens to air their demands under the ambit allowed by law," Mr Gao said.
Mr Liu said the cardinal’s participation in Sunday’s march had harmed trust between Beijing and the Vatican, as it justified Beijing’s fear that Vatican-appointed bishops would be against the state on the mainland.
Cardinal Zen said he was glad to see Beijing had reacted "calmly" over the Pope’s letter, which showed that a sensible dialogue could begin. "The only person talking loudly was Liu Bainian," he said.
The cardinal reinforces my suspicions that part of the Vatican strategy is to further drive wedges between the the Foreign ministry on one hand, and the Patriotic association, which also appears to have cultivated close relationships with the Guoanbu over the years, creating a symbiotic manus manum lavat relationship, on the other
I would love to be a fly on the wall for discussions between the Vatican and the Foreign ministry. Vatican Beaurocracy vs. Chinese civil service. Clash of the Titans!
Tim’s comments are very interesting indeed. Judging from signs seen in the Chinese media, it seems that there is already a big gap between the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Patriotic Association, and the State Administration of Religious Affairs and United Front Work Department, which allegedly arranged for all the bishops of the official church to attend a two day meeting near Beijing on 28-29 June. I guess the Foreign Ministry wants Sino-Vatican relationship to improve. Like Tim, I’d really love to sit in at meetings between Vatican and Chinese officials.
Here is Calvin who is living in Hong Kong and Cardinal Joseph Zen is our Bishop.
I really think that Cardinal Joseph Zen is better than Mr. Liu.
Mr. Liu is a people I really don’t like.
He always said that Chinese Catholic don’t need The Holy See’s care.
He is the one don’t like China and Vatican have contact.