Cardinal Zen Cites Reason to Retire

HONG KONG, APRIL 2, 2008 ( Cardinal Joseph Zen had an artificial heart pacemaker implanted last month, citing this as one more reason to step down as the bishop of Hong Kong.

Cardinal Zen, 76, told a local newspaper Apple Daily on March 30 that the pacemaker was placed sometime during the weekend of Easter. He has not made any official announcement of his retirement.

On Good Friday, the cardinal’s Stations of the Cross meditations were read at a ceremony at the Roman Colosseum, presided over by Benedict XVI.

The Pontiff had invited the cardinal to compose the meditations for the annual Via Crucis. Cardinal Zen told ZENIT, “With his invitation, the Holy Father wanted me to bring to the Colosseum the voice of the faithful in China.”

Bishop John Tong Hon, 68, was appointed coadjutor bishop in January, meaning he will automatically become the head of the Diocese of Hong Kong upon the death or retirement of Cardinal Zen.