Card. Filoni: Cardinal Zen ‘a Man of God, Loyal and Upright’

Those were Cardinal Filoni’s words regarding Cardinal Zen who is on trial for his support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2018.

Newsroom (03/10/2022 12:13 PM, Gaudium PressIn recent days, and following Cardinal Müller’s post-consistory warning that Cardinal Joseph Zen was being abandoned, comes the balanced but determined defense of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre who lived in Hong Kong for eight years.

About the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Filoni says that “Cardinal Zen should not be condemned. Hong Kong, China and the Church have in him a devoted son, of whom there is nothing to be ashamed. This is a testimony to the truth.” Indeed, Cardinal Zen is on trial for his roles in Fund 612, responsible for the ‘horrendous act’ of obtaining funds to pay legal expenses for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2018.

The day before yesterday Cardinal Zen heard the charges against him. And while those of attacks on national security were dropped, the formal ones remain for allegedly failing to properly register the said fund, which moreover no longer exists. The trial itself would begin next week.

Of course, what happens to the iconic 90-year-old cardinal has repercussions not only on the Vatican’s relations with China, but also on West-China ties. However, the Chinese don’t seem to care about such minutiae and appeal to the steamroller style that identifies them. Although Cardinal Zen’s withdrawal of the absurd conspiracy charges shows that while in their ‘diplomatic’ language China likes to vociferate, when it comes to the real politik they have to restrain themselves, because they know that actions have their consequences, including for the Chinese moloch .

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Meanwhile, Cardinal Filoni’s attitude stands as a manifestation of honor, stating that the Nazarene also had to hear in court that he had violated Roman sovereignty, or that the Baptist was also judged by the ‘impartial’ Herod, mesmerized by the viper Salome.

The smiling Salesian superior

The Italian cardinal recounts that in 1992 he was sent to Hong Kong to open a Study Mission on the reality of the Church in China, and there he met “Father Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, [who] was the Provincial of the Salesians. An authentic Chinese, very intelligent, sagacious, with a winning smile.

In referring that Cardinal Zen’s family from Shanghai was persecuted Nazi-style by the Japanese occupation, Cardinal Filoni noted that the young Zen “never forgot that experience, which forged in him a coherence of character and lifestyle; and then a great love for freedom and justice”. Shanghai was heroic, and his sons were considered heroes, almost untouchable even by the communist regime. Cardinal Zen is one of the last epigones of those families. Heroes should never be humiliated; that was also the mentality of the Chinese establishment, as it is in the West for the victims of our own “Nazifascism.”

He continued with his praise for the Cardinal: his generosity in giving of himself even though he was emeritus, his respect and support for people, his “moral and ideal integrity,” his characteristic of being a “man of God,” his loyalty, which made him worthy of the cardinal’s purple.

The cardinal concluded that he definitely should not be condemned.

With Infocatolica information.

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