Pope Francis remains silent after Cardinal Zen was arrested in Hong Kong by the new tyrant put in place by China.
It was reported on Wednesday that Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia, and four others who helped run a now-disbanded humanitarian fund for protesters, all on charges of “collusion with foreign forces,” a legal source said.
Zen, a 90-year-old former bishop of Hong Kong, was being held in Chai Wan police station close to his church residence, according to a police sergeant on the scene.
“He was arrested,” and is being questioned right now, said the officer, surnamed Kam, who declined to confirm the charge.A legal source familiar with the matter told Reuters that five people had been arrested in connection with the case, including Zen; senior barrister Margaret Ng, 74; activist and pop singer Denise Ho; former lawmaker Cyd Ho; and former academic Hui Po-keung.
All were taken into custody for alleged “collusion with foreign forces,” according to the source.
This arrest comes only days after China instituted their new puppet in the former British colony. The new CEO of Hong Kong was rewarded with the post after leading the effort to squash the freedom protests that were in place in 2020.
To date, Pope Francis has remained silent about Cardinal Zen’s arrest. ABC News reported on the arrest and noted that Cardinal Zen was released Wednesday night.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 90-year-old Catholic cleric arrested by Hong Kong police on national security charges, has long been a fiery critic of Beijing’s control of religion and political monopoly, along with efforts by the Vatican to reach a working arrangement with the ruling Communist Party.
Zen left a police station on bail Wednesday night following his arrest alongside other former trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Support Fund, which provides assistance to people arrested during 2019 anti-government protests. The former Hong Kong archbishop has not yet commented on his arrest.
Zen was reportedly upset with Pope Francis who came to an agreement with China a few years ago. The agreement allowed China’s Communist Party leaders to select the leaders of the church in China. Many felt that this was a capitulation to China by the Catholic church.
Zen had once sought to build bridges with China’s Communist Party-controlled Catholic church by visiting Beijing-approved seminaries in mainland China. But he also said those experiences showed him the lack of religious freedom in China and fed a deep distrust of the officially atheist ruling party.
China broke off relations with the Holy See in 1951 after the party took power and established its own church. Foreign priests were expelled and many of their Chinese colleagues spent decades in prison or labor camps.
In recent years, the Vatican, particularly under Pope Francis, has been eager to reach a deal with the Chinese government and unite the churches.
Zen was especially scathing of attempts by some in the Vatican to reach an arrangement with the party on the appointment of bishops on the mainland, a power traditionally wielded by the Holy See which Beijing claims for itself.
In 2018, he warned that a deal between the Vatican and China that cedes too much authority to Beijing would place the country’s Catholic followers in a big “birdcage.”
“The Communist government just wants the church to surrender, because they want complete control, not only of the Catholic Church but all the religions,” Zen said at the time.
A tacit agreement was reportedly reached in 2018 whereby China submitted names to the Vatican for approval, but that has had little perceptible impact on relations between the sides. Zen accused the Holy See of selling out underground Catholics who have remained loyal to the Vatican.
Zen, a frequent blogger, posted about making a desperate journey to Rome in a personal effort to prevent an underground bishop from being replaced by an excommunicated one favored by Beijing.
The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said Wednesday the Holy See “learned with concern the news of the arrest of Cardinal Zen and is following the evolution of the situation with extreme attention.”
The Pope remains silent as China puts its thumb on Hong Kong. Now even a 90-year-old Cardinal is under attack.