Cardinal Joseph Zen has published a blog post accusing the Vatican’s secretary of state of manipulating Pope Francis, and continuing his ongoing criticism of the Holy See’s approach to the Catholic Church in China.

“My personal impression is that [Cardinal Pietro] Parolin manipulates the Pope, at least in things regarding the Church in China,” Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, wrote in a post published on his personal blog.

The post “Supplement to my answer to Cardinal G.B. Re,” was dated March 10, although it was actually published March 21. It seemed to be an addendum to a March 3 open letter Zen wrote to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

Zen’s March 21 and March 3 letters came in response to a Feb. 26 letter from Re, dean of the Church’s College of Cardinals, to the Church’s cardinals, which claimed that that the China-Vatican deal represents the minds of St. John Paul II and of Benedict XVI, and that Zen’s opposition to the deal is misguided.

Even before it was signed, Zen has been a zealous critic of the Vatican’s 2018 provisional agreement with the People’s Republic of China. He says the agreement, which has not been publicly released, concedes a deliberative role to the Chinese government in the selection of bishops, and puts at risk of persecution many of the Catholics in China.

In his March 3 letter, Zen wrote to Re that “if you want to prove to me that the recently signed agreement was already approved by Benedict XVI, you just have to show me the text of the agreement, which I am barred from seeing till now, and the archival evidence which you say you could verify.”

Zen’s more recent post claimed that while he has been critical of Re over the China deal, “The problem is not between me and Re. The problem is with Cardinal Parolin.”

“It’s difficult to understand how this man has become so powerful to dominate the whole Roman Curia. He could dismiss the Commission for Church in China without a word and nobody stood up to protest against such impoliteness.”

Zen has previously alleged that Parolin closed the Vatican’s commission on the Church in China, which was established under Benedict XVI and included Vatican officials and Church leaders from the region, in order to silence criticism from Zen about the Church’s engagement with the Chinese government.

The cardinal’s March 21 post also criticized Parolin for assigning Archbishop Savio Hon, formerly the secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the only high-ranking Chinese cleric in the curia, to a diplomatic post in Greece….


The  above comes from a March 21 story on Catholic News Agency.