No rest for Zen, Pope decides

Pope Benedict has formally rejected the resignation submitted by Hong Kong's Cardinal Joseph Zen after the combative prelate turned 75 and asked him to keep working to improve relations between China and the Holy See.

The International Herald Tribune reports that the pope has rejected Cardinal Zen's latest request to give up his bishop duties so that he can focus more on restoring Sino-Vatican ties, his office said on Wednesday.

Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Cardinal Zen saying that he should carry on as bishop, while doing whatever he can to improve relations between China and the Vatican, his office said in a statement.

"The pope has already verbally told him to stay on the job some time ago," Dominic Yung, Zen's spokesman, told the Associated Press. "It's just a formal letter this time."

Beijing severed ties with the Holy See in 1951 after the Communists took power and set up a separate Catholic church outside the pope's authority.

Local faithful are allowed to worship only with the state-sanctioned church, which recognises the pope as a spiritual leader but appoints its own priests and bishops.

But about 12 million Catholics are estimated to belong to unofficial congregations loyal to the Vatican.

Pope rejects Hong Kong cardinal's request to give up bishop post (International Herald Tribune, 213/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Joseph Zen (Wikipedia)

Hong Kong cardinal in call to excommunicate China bishops (CathNews, 22/12/06)
Chinese Bishop abducted, escapes over illicit ordination (CathNews, 1/12/06)
Hong Kong Archbishop attacks Govt over anti-subversion law (CathNews, 7/2/03)

22 Mar 2007