The Church in China

We live well in America and it is easy to be a Catholic. True enough we see increasing threats and limits coming to our religious liberty, but all in all we still live free and well. Not so in other parts of the world where the Church is openly persecuted and her freedom is limited, often quite severely.

This is a short interview of Cardinal Zen, the recently retired bishop of Hong Kong. It was filmed in April 2009.

The Church in China has not been allowed by the government to officially recognize the Pope since the 1950s, and as a result it split into an underground Church that recognizes the Vatican and an officially government recognized church which has cooperated with the government. Pope Benedict XVI issued a letter in 2007 in which it was announced that many of the bishops in the above ground church had made contact with Rome and announced their allegiance to the Pope. The Pope, in his letter asked them to declare openly their allegiance to Rome and for the Chinese state to cease preventing them from doing so, however, many of the bishops have still failed to do this and Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong has been strongly encouraging them to do so. In a letter he sent last year he told the bishops to have the spirit of St Stephen and that if they had to choose between not following the pope’s instructions and being martyred than they needed to be martyred.

Here is an excerpt of that interview.