Cardinal Joseph Zen on Tuesday expressed “pain and indignation” at restrictions on private Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The former bishop of Hong Kong said March 30 that if he could, he would fly to Rome and kneel outside the pope’s residence until the decree was withdrawn.

He wrote: “Pain and indignation invade my heart to hear certain incredible news: They have forbidden private masses in St. Peter’s!?”

“If it were not for the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, I would take the first flight to come to Rome and get on my knees in front of the door of Santa Marta (now the papal residence) until the Holy Father has this edict withdrawn.”

Zen made his remarks on his website in an open letter to Cardinal Robert Sarah after the former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship asked Pope Francis on Monday to reinstate the celebration of private Masses at the side altars in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Zen is the fifth cardinal to voice opposition to the change, which went into effect March 22, after SarahRaymond BurkeGerhard Müller, and Walter Brandmüller.

Priests traveling with pilgrim groups were also permitted to reserve an altar for a private Mass.

There are a total of 45 altars and 11 chapels in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The 89-year-old cardinal, an outspoken defender of persecuted Chinese Catholics, said that he used to pray “with tears” for the Church in China at the Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“I think these were the Masses that, in my life, I celebrated with more fervor and emotion, sometimes with tears praying for our living martyrs in China (now abandoned and pushed into the bosom of the schismatic church by the “Holy See” [as that document of June 2020 was presented without signatures and without the revisions of the Congregation for Doctrine]),” he wrote….

The above comes from a March 30 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.