April 17, 2009. Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of one of the most outspoken men when talking about topics like religious freedom, democracy and human rights: Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the bishop of Hong Kong.
John Paul II gave him this position in 2002, and four years later, Benedict XVI appointed him cardinal.
Cardinal Zen submitted his resignation when he reached his 75th birthday. But it wasn’t until two years later that the Vatican approved it. In an interview with RomeReports in March, the Cardinal spoke about how he plans to spend his retirement.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
I’ve said more than once that when I retire from the office of Bishop of Hong Kong, not to rest, but to concentrate my work on the Church in China, because there is a lot of work to do, to make myself more informed, to understand better the many very complicated situations in different dioceses and so then when I’m really well informed I can give some advice to the Holy Father.
One of the problems currently faced by the Church in China are 8 to 12 million Catholics that are divided between a church approved by the state and an underground Church that rejects ties with the government and remains loyal to the Pope.
Benedict XVI has appointed John Tong Hon as the successor of Cardinal Zen, whom until now had been the coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong since 2008.