Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, was at the Vatican last week to attend Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s funeral. The authorities in Hong Kong temporarily returned his passport to enable him to go to Italy. The 90-year-old Cardinal, who is one of the highest-ranking Catholics in Asia, was arrested last year by authorities in Hong Kong under National Security law, which generated criticism from all around the world. During his Vatican visit, Cardinal Zen had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican. Following the meeting, Cardinal Zen expressed that Pope Francis was “so very warm” and the meeting “was wonderful.”
Premier Christian News reports:
A 90 year old Cardinal who was arrested under Hong Kong’s strict National Security law has met Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Cardinal Joseph Zen who is Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong and one of Asia’s highest-ranking Catholics, was in Rome to attend the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI last week. The Hong Kong authorities temporarily released his passport for five days to allow him to travel to Italy.
His private meeting with Pope Francis is said to have taken place on Friday at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse.
Describing the meeting, Cardinal Zen told the Jesuit-run America magazine : “It was wonderful. He was so very warm!”
Cardinal Zen was arrested in Hong Kong last year over a now-disbanded fund that is said to have helped pro-democracy protesters. He is among scores of democracy campaigners facing legal threats from China after the protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
Reflecting on the papacy of Benedict XV1, Cardinal Zen wrote in his blog that Benedict XVI was a “great defender of the truth” who took “extraordinary” actions to support the Church in
China, despite many setbacks.
“As a member of the Chinese Church, I am immensely grateful to Pope Benedict for things he has done that he did not do for other Churches.”
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Photo by Rock Li