- Apr 16, 2021
Italian Father Franco Mella, a member of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions, offers a reminder that while at a distance what may stand out is the black and white, up close it’s usually the shades of gray.
After two top prelates recently butted heads over the legitimacy of the Vatican’s 2018 agreement with China on the appointment of bishops, one expert on Chinese affairs stepped in insisting that the deal was not only good, but a product of more than 30 years of Vatican diplomacy.
In a new letter, retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen says Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is “manipulating” Pope Francis on the issue of China.
Rome’s conviction is that not only will Chinese believers benefit over time from being able to organize routine pastoral life out in the open, but the Vatican may be able to gradually draw China into a more constructive role among the community of nations.
Several days after Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken critic of the Vatican’s approach to China, received a prize from the U.S. government for defending democracy in communist China, the Vatican’s foreign minister had an historic meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
As protests continue to unravel in Hong Kong, the Vatican has maintained its silence and Catholics appear split about what exactly their role is and just how political they ought to be.
Catholic leaders in Hong Kong have widely supported nearly seven months of anti-government protests, except when they turned violent.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vocal opponent of Pope Francis’s approach to China, in a new interview has called his contact with the Vatican in his time as a cardinal “disastrous,” particularly on the issue of engagement with Beijing, and criticized two former top Vatican officials.