VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong told the Synod of Bishops that the vast majority of prelates in China’s government-approved “official” Church now have papal approval.
In fact, Bishop Zen said that his country could be described as having only one Catholic Church.
“The Church in China, apparently divided in two — one official, recognized by the government, and one clandestine, which rejects being independent from Rome — is in fact only one Church, as all want to be united to the Pope,” he said in his address today, delivered in Italian.
“After the long years of forced separation, the vast majority of the bishops of the official Church were legitimized by the magnanimity of the Holy Father,” added Bishop Zen, 73. He did not specify whether the approval came from Benedict XVI or John Paul II.
The Hong Kong prelate specified that “especially in the last years it has become increasingly clear that the bishops ordained without the approval of the Roman Pontiff are not accepted either by the clergy or the faithful.”
“It is hoped that, given this ecclesial sense, the government will see the wisdom in normalizing the situation, although conservative elements within the ‘official’ Church are resisting for obvious reasons of interest,” he revealed.
“The Holy Father’s invitation to four bishops for the synod was a good opportunity, but it seems lost,” lamented the bishop. Some of the bishops who were invited are from the government-sanctioned Church.
Bishop Zen added that the Eucharist “well celebrated, will undoubtedly … accelerate the advent of genuine freedom for the Chinese people.”