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Pope Francis

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Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong turns 80, elector cardinals drops to 107

2012-01-12

As the bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen often dealt with relations between the Catholic Church and China. In 2009 he sat down with ROME REPORTS to explain how things have improved and how he has asked bishops to be brave when faced with opposition.

Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun
March 13, 2009

“But we know also that today the situation is very different from say twenty, thirty years ago. If the bishops now abstain from going to such celebration, they are not going to be put into prison. And they are not going to face any danger for their life.”

Cardinal Zen has been a priest for over 50 years, a bishop for 15, and was elevated to a cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2006. His pastoral work has made him an expert on relations between the Catholic Church and China. At times, his straightforward approach has caused tension not only with Beijing but also with Rome.

Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun
March 13, 2009

“Diplomacy is necessary but you cannot sacrifice everything for diplomacy. Sometimes you have to tell the truth clearly. I think that everybody does his own job. So the people do their job and we do our job. Its not good to ask everyone to be diplomatic.”

He now joins 84 other non-voting cardinals, leaving the number of elector cardinals at 107. Although, that number will soon jump again when the pope will name 22 more cardinals on February 18.


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