Hong Kong: Cardinal Zen Ready For Jail

Hong Kong: Cardinal Zen Ready For Jail

Cardinal ZenRome, Italy, Dec 4, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One of several leaders of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement to surrender to police after months of pro-democracy protests, Cardinal Joseph Zen has said he is ready to go to jail.

“I’m prepared to be jailed, which is the strongest and most sincere proof of the unfairness of the system in Hong Kong,” said Hong Kong’s emeritus bishop, according to a translation of a report by the Hong Kong Economic Journal

Cardinal Zen, 82, turned himself into police on Dec. 3 along with founders of the movement, Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. All were allowed to leave without facing any charges.

The demonstrations have drawn tens of thousands of people, although to-date they have decreased to a few hundred protesters, most of whom are students.

 In an Nov. 20 interview with CNA, Hong Kong’s former bishop urged student demonstrators to be patient as clashes resume during overnight pro-democracy protests in the city center.

Cardinal Zen, who supports the fight for democratic elections, expressed concern that young protestors were moving too quickly without sufficient planning,

“The students have taken the whole thing into their hands, and they are impatient,” he said. “Obviously they want to have an immediate success. That’s not possible.”

On the one hand, the cardinal acknowledged that the protesters “raise the awareness of the people, of the whole world” because of their youth. However, he warned it is “dangerous to waste the sympathy of the people, because now the things are dragging on too long. It’s affecting very much the daily life of the people in Hong Kong.”

Demonstrations began late September when students staged a week-long boycott of China’s decision to only allow pre-screened candidates to be elected as Hong Kong’s leader in 2017.

“We are fighting for a real democratic election, said Cardinal Zen, adding that Beijing’s decision to choose the candidates is not a “real election.”

 Efforts to confront this motion began “very rationally,” he continued, “so we didn’t expect immediate success.”

On Sep. 29, Hong Kong bishop, Cardinal John Tong, appealed the government to ensure the safety of its citizens, and called all Christians to pray for reconciliation between the “conflicting parties” in the conflict.

Formerly under the sovereignty of Britain, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, with the latter’s government agreeing to permit the region greater freedoms and autonomy.  Source  


“I’m prepared to be jailed, which is the strongest and most sincere proof of the unfairness of the system in Hong Kong,” said Hong Kong’s emeritus bishop. Interesting. Where are the priests and bishops who are prepared to even just speak out as “proof” that they recognise the “unfairness of the system” in today’s Vatican, which is leaving Catholics in turmoil, as they ponder the latest scandals from Rome?

Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia is on record saying that he expected to be jailed for speaking out against homosexuality – click here  Yet, before the local prison had time to prepare a cell for him, he’d apologised for (perfectly legitimate and correct) remarks made in the context of the death of a partnerned Catholic homosexual, former priest who became an MP – click here and note that, in fact, the Archbishop (when Bishop of Paisley) had actually defied Canon Law by not only permitting, but by actually helping to arrange the funeral of this well known public sinner!   So, not only an apology for his remarks but revelations to underline his support for the deceased partnered homosexual came fast and furious in the face of the widespread condemnation by the “great and the good.” Fear of unpopular coverage in the secular media trumped fear of God’s wrath at his judgment. Big time.  Will Cardinal Zen apologise for openly supporting the democratic rights of the people of Hong Kong? No chance.  

Seems it’s easier – and more acceptable and praiseworthy – for a bishop to surrender his freedom and accept imprisonment  in the cause of democracy, bringing true Our Lord’s words: “…the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

The silence from the Bishops of Scotland during the same-sex marriage debate – and other Government-led offences against God’s law – has been deafening.  What little protest there was, came in the form of the mantra:  “we don’t mind same-sex relationships, just don’t call them ‘marriage.'” 

DO we, therefore, have anything to learn from “the children of this world” in terms of protesting attacks on our Faith and defending our God-given right to have our Catholic religion passed on to us, undiluted?  Is there a case for “Occupying Rome”?

Comments invited.

Comments (19)

  • Helen

    I often wonder why our prelates don’t stand up for God’s law. They seem more interested in saving the planet! I well remember when all the Scottish bishops marched to “make poverty history” forgetting that Jesus said: “The poor will always be with you but I will not”. They, like politicians, are terrified of public opinion and the media. Well, we all know that Jesus also said: ” If you deny ME before men, I will deny you before MY Father in Heaven”. I often think of that when making a sign of the cross in public!

    December 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    • editor


      “I often wonder why our prelates don’t stand up for God’s law. They seem more interested in saving the planet!”

      Got it in one. I remember being astonished to read Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien (of very unhappy memory) saying that he couldn’t sleep at night for worrying about the trees! The Church was falling to bits around him and he was only worried about the trees! Gimme strength.

      December 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm
  • Constantine the Great

    Tartaglia comments also predate the downfall of O’Brien, so I doubt he will be making any further public comments on the subject or going to jail.

    As for Zen, he is only making a case for asylum in UK.

    December 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Constantine the Great,

      Why do you say that? I don’t think it’s difficult for anyone to get into the UK today, the politicians keep admitting that we’ve lost control of our borders, so why would Cardinal Zen go to jail just to “make a case for asylum in UK”?

      IMHO, he just wants to be seen to be on the side of democracy, as if that’s always a good thing in itself.

      December 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm
      • Constantine the Great

        Oh, Marguerite Mary, the whole population of Hong Kong would come to the UK if they could get away with it. Zen has seen his chance, I am sure of it. He was a close friend of O’Brien apparently.

        December 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm
      • Fidelis

        Constantine the Great,

        I’m intrigued by what you say. Is there a ban on people coming here from Hong Kong?

        December 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm
      • Constantine the Great


        December 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I’ve just seen a long interview on Sky news, with Cardinal Vincent Nichols and a police chief, on the topic of human trafficking. I didn’t hear the cardinal mentioning God even once, the only religious reference was to quote Pope Francis on the subject and that he thought “religious women” were great at helping with people who have been held in these slave conditions.

    I thought of this thread when I was watching the interview and I think it’s got to be a fair assumption that these bishops think politics and not God is the answer to human problems.

    December 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm
    • editor


      I’ve seen Cardinal Nichols on the news on the topic of human trafficking as well. Anything and everything except the Faith. That should be woven into his coat of arms.

      December 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm
  • jobstears

    “Where are the priests and bishops who are prepared to even just speak out as “proof” that they recognise the “unfairness of the system” in today’s Vatican, which is leaving Catholics in turmoil”, they appear to be busy trying to make the world a better place inspite of their religion.

    I think MM said it all in her last line- “these bishops think politics and not God is the answer to human problems”. Aid to the Church in Need has a lot of these ‘religious women’ (unbelievable!) who put their lives on the line by serving the suffering Church.

    December 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm
  • Athanasius

    Follow this link to see how even heretics and schismatics of good will are more Catholic in their reaction to scandal than the Catholic hierarchy. It’s truly shocking to see outsiders having to remind Catholic bishops of their duty before God. I should just mention that what the man in the video calls blasphemy is actually better termed heresy.

    December 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm
    • Fidelis


      That Protestant man fairly exposed the Pope’s ignorance. It was good to see his strong reaction and, as you say, it was more Catholic than the Catholic hierarchy (and I would add most of the laity).

      I don’t know why you would say it’s not blasphemy – I think the man made a very good case for blasphemy. To flout what Jesus said himself, as the Protestant points out (“I am the Way,etc) by telling atheists they can go to heaven without believing in God, when Jesus has said the opposite, is surely blasphemous. It’s also heresy by which I mean a false teaching, but I can’t see how it can fail to be blasphemy as well, since blasphemy is to insult God in one way or another. Feel free to correct me, but I thought then and I still think that Pope Francis blasphemed when he told atheists they could ignore God and still go to heaven. IMHO, that’s blasphemy.

      December 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm
      • Athanasius


        There’s no getting away from the scandal of these ludicrous statements Pope Francis is making on a regular basis, that’s for sure. But I wouldn’t put them in the category of blasphemy.

        Blasphemy suggests more bad will than well intentioned (material) heresy. I’m trying to put the best light I can on this Pope’s scandalous behaviour, though I admit it’s getting harder and harder to excuse what he says and does as just well intentioned error. He’s a highly educated Jesuit so it’s difficult to apply to him ignorance of the truths of the Faith. Still, I can’t read his soul so I am bound in charity to refrain from according outright bad will on his part. I think that’s the safest judgment we can make in these really confusing times. There is absolutely no question, however, that Pope Francis represents the gravest possible danger to Catholic souls. The Church has never seen a Pontiff like this before.

        December 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm
      • Fidelis


        I agree that we cannot and must not even try to read any soul, let alone the Pope’s. I didn’t mean that he was blaspheming deliberately, but it is quite possible to blaspheme “as a matter of fact” like people who write blasphemous plays,may not even realise they’re committing blasphemy. They are often well intentioned people, trying to put their own artistic interpretation on things to do with God and so there are plays and films presenting Jesus as married to Mary Magdalene and Our Lady as a prostitute. We can’t read their souls either but we know that what they produce is blasphemous. It’s the same with people who take the name of Jesus in vain – they probably don’t mean to blaspheme but that’s what they’re doing.

        I also agree that it’s getting harder and harder to put the case for ignorance, when the Pope says the shocking things he does, and I always think the explanation of diabolical disorientation given on this blog is the best one – that the bishops, including Pope Francis, who are making what amount to blasphemous statements about other religions or no religion being OK, actually think they are doing good, helping the Church. I am quite sure Pope Francis doesn’t mean to insult God but it is a fact that he is.

        December 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm
      • Athanasius


        I agree, it’s difficult to distinguish between blasphemy and heresy at times, not to mention the distinction between formal and material culpability. Horrible times!

        December 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm
      • editor


        Truly difficult times. I must say I’m very impressed with the charity and forbearance in both Fidels’s and your comments on this subject of Pope Francis’s culpability of lack of it. I’ll say no more than that except… “Blasphemy”? “Heresy”? Both, in my book. Big time.

        Thanks for posting that video – shocking to see the Pope (rightly) rebuked by a (well meaning) non-Catholic who clearly has a better handle on the nature and importance of the First Commandment than the Pope himself.

        I keep wondering what might be going on in the mind of Pope Benedict, these days. How can he be enjoying his “retirement” with the Church in turmoil?

        December 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm
  • Petrus

    He should have spent more time worrying about his soul. Although he must be happy now he was time to talk to the trees and his house plants!

    December 6, 2014 at 7:25 am
  • Petrus

    I don’t think we are going to have a Scottish bishop willing to speak out properly for a long time. The current crop, including the new recruits have a great big yellow dot on their bellies.

    One of the newest recruits, a supposed stalwart of the pro life movement is refusing to speak out on abortion …..but more on that later.

    December 6, 2014 at 7:28 am
    • Margaret Mary


      I agree about the Scottish bishops – they only speak about the safe issues, such as the environment.

      I’m curious about which one of the new bishops won’t speak out on abortion. That’s absolutely shocking. It could be the Bishop of Paisley because he said he was bringing Pope Francis’ vision to Paisley so maybe he is taking him at his word and not wanting to seem to be “obsessing” about abortion.

      December 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: