ucanews.com reporter, Hong KongUpdated: November 21, 2017 04:30 AM GMT
Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun during the memorial Mass for Father Wei Heping, an underground priest of Ningxia Diocese, China, who died in mysterious circumstances. (ucanews.com photo)
Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong has strongly criticized the Holy See's diplomacy with Beijing during a memorial Mass for an underground Chinese priest who died in mysterious circumstances two years ago.
In his homily, Cardinal Zen told those attending the Mass at the Church of St. Jude on Nov. 10 that he had recently been shocked to learn, via several sources, certain details about the Sino-Vatican negotiations on the appointment of bishops in China.
Cardinal Zen said there was "an evil" plan to "ask those loyal China bishops to resign in order to leave room for illicit bishops. It is shocking. This is the beginning of the end."
Vatican officials have not been following the pope's instruction since the time of Pope Benedict XVI, said the cardinal during the Mass which remembered 41-year-old Father Wei Heping.
Cardinal Zen said the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin should have a better understanding of the Chinese Communist Party. He said that Cardinal Parolin is erroneously encouraging Pope Francis to have an overly optimistic approach to the Chinese government.
"Dialogue is required but it shouldn't be too optimistic when dealing with the communist regime," said Cardinal Zen.
"Too much emphasis on diplomacy instead of our faith, or no bottom line about reaching an agreement, or selling ourselves, is by no means being faithful to the Apostles' mission," he said.
Cardinal Zen said that the Holy See fears offending Beijing and as such does not do the right thing. He gave the example of how the Holy See never condemned the mysterious death of Father Wei (who also had the alias Yu Heping) or the long-imprisonment of the underground Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding or the demolition of crosses in Zhejiang province.
The cardinal said that the Holy See did not even condemn how bishops without Vatican approval twice attended ordinations of Vatican-approved bishops. He said the Holy See also allowed Vatican-approved bishops to join the state-run National Congress for Catholic Representatives.
The cardinal emphasized that he would not rebel against the Holy See but when the day really came, "I will disappear, no longer say anything, let us quietly go to the cave to cry!"
Cardinal Zen emphasized he believed this was what Father Wei wanted to say from heaven, and he hoped that the Holy See would be able to step back from precipice and not sell out faithful Catholics in China.
The body of Father Wei was found dumped in a river in Taiyuan in Shanxi province, northern China in November 2015. The police claimed he committed suicide but Father Wei's family were not allowed to see the autopsy report.
According to a church source, knowledgeable of the autopsy report, there was a large area of Father Wei's brain that suffered internal bleeding.
Father Wei's memorial Mass was organized by the Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong.