Cardinal Joseph Zen has been hospitalized in Hong Kong after his health deteriorated upon returning from Benedict XVI’s funeral in Rome.
Newsroom (3/02/2023 7:27 PM, Gaudium Press) — The 91-year-old cardinal wrote on his blog on Jan. 31 that he is receiving treatment in the hospital after experiencing difficulty breathing.
Zen said that the doctors had already conducted many examinations and ruled out that he does not have a bacterial infection in his lungs as he experienced in 2016 when he was hospitalized for three weeks.
“You have not heard from me as I have been staying in the hospital. Please rest assured, Hong Kong’s most senior doctors are taking care of me,” he wrote.
The former bishop of Hong Kong revealed that he had already been experiencing some health difficulties before he received permission from a Hong Kong court to travel to Rome for the Jan. 5 funeral of Benedict XVI.
Zen said that he felt that he “could not give up the opportunity” to be at the funeral despite having inflammation in his shoulders, an aching back, and numbness in his hands.
“The funeral of Pope Benedict was very important to me; and like a miracle, God allowed me to go to Rome to attend: The court approved, the police let me get back my passport; the airline just had a flight so that I could catch the funeral in time, therefore, I felt that I couldn’t give up this opportunity and decided to go,” he said.
“When I went to Rome, I felt that I represented the whole of Hong Kong and the whole of China, expressing our respect and love to Pope Benedict XVI.”
After his four-day trip to Rome, the cardinal spent ten days resting in Hong Kong, but his health unexpectedly continued to deteriorate, worsening on the first day of the Lunar New Year, Jan. 22.
Zen shared the update on his health in a blog post titled “Letter to Inmates.” The retired cardinal has dedicated his time over the past ten years to prison ministry in Hong Kong and has baptized several prisoners.
“Do not forget that we will never be separated in prayer,” he wrote to the inmates. “I will continue to pray for you, and please remember me in your prayers.”
- Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA