Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Here It Is, Your Moment of Zen

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong -- the church's happiest man in red -- zipped all around London last week, and the ecclesiastical crowd flocked to hear him....
Addressing a sell-out audience of more than 400 at an event Monday organized by the United Kingdom office of Aid to the Church in Need, the cardinal revealed how the state-controlled official Church in China is almost completely reconciled with Rome, despite the catalogue of abuses meted out by Beijing to Catholics.

With about 85% of the official Church's bishops now approved by Rome, Catholics' endurance and peaceful resolve to achieve full communion with Rome has prevailed, said Cardinal Zen.

"The bishops [of the official Church] will not accept ordination without the approval of the Holy See," said the bishop of Hong Kong. "The government can do nothing about that."

And when Rome appointed a bishop, the official Church went through the administrative ritual of officially electing the bishop, so that the government could not disapprove, he explained....

Highlighting the day-to-day persecution of the Church, Cardinal Zen told how Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding had recently been released after 10 months in custody.

"Bishop Jia is used to always being in and out of jail -- it is like a matter of administration," the cardinal said. "It shows he is standing up for his people."

Bishop Jia has spent a total of 20 years in prison.
And as a piece on The Tablet's "Notebook" page shows, the new cardinal's sense of good humour -- and inculturation -- remains intact....
[T]he cardinal is equally aware of the importance of image. He did not object when given the popular nickname "Viagra of Hong Kong" for his stout defence of democracy in his See. And the hat or galero that covers the shield of his coat of arms, while it has been coloured red since his elevation by the Holy Father last March, was violet when he was simply Bishop of Hong Kong, rather than the traditional green for bishops. The avoidance of a green galero is customary, apparently, among Chinese bishops since "wearing a green hat" is the Chinese idiom for "cuckold."