Warning to Cardinal-designate Zen

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual in Beijing as it musters up a warning for Cardinal-designate Joseph Zen of Hong Kong.

China yesterday warned Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, a leading critic of Beijing who was elevated to cardinal this week, not to mix religion with politics.

“We advocate that religious figures should not interfere with politics,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

“We hope that the Catholic Church in Hong Kong will cherish the stability, development and harmony of Hong Kong society,” he said.

Stability is a code word in the Communist Party leadership for accepting its rule and, in Hong Kong’s case, not demanding a more rapid transition to democracy.

Bishop Zen, 74, however, vowed to stick to his outspoken ways, saying he was too old to change his position on issues such as democracy and the rights of the persecuted underground Roman Catholic Church in China.

“I am over 70. There are things that will be hard to change,” he said. “People say I am rebellious. But if you help the underprivileged, you have to speak louder or no one can hear you.”

[Thanks for the link to Amy who’s now on her way to Rome with her family. I hear people are already going into withdrawals because she won’t be blogging.]

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Domenico Bettinelli, Jr., is a father of five and husband, a Roman Catholic, born in Boston, educated at Franciscan University of Steubenville, who has worked in Catholic media--print, broadcast, and online--since the mid-90s. Find out all about Dom on his About Me page.