Cardinal Zen has rejected claims that Benedict XVI approved a draft of the Vatican-China deal, and has accused Cardinal Parolin of “telling a series of lies”.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Zen criticised a speech in which Parolin said that Pope Benedict had given his approval to a draft of the 2018 agreement.
“I read the speech given by Cardinal Parolin. It’s sickening!” Zen wrote. He said Parolin “told a series of lies with eyes open” as “he is not stupid and ignorant.”
“The most repugnant thing is the insult to the venerable Benedict XVI by saying that he approved at the time the agreement signed by the Holy See two years ago, knowing that our sweetest, most gentle Benedict certainly will not come out to deny it,” Zen added.
CNA reports that, in his speech last Saturday, Parolin cited Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the dean of the College of Cardinals, claiming that he said that “Pope Benedict XVI [approved] the draft agreement on the appointment of bishops in China, which it was only possible to sign in 2018.”
Zen said it was “very ridiculous and humiliating” for Re “to be ‘used’ once again to support the falsehoods of the Most Eminent Secretary.”
“Parolin knows he is lying, he knows that I know he is a liar, he knows that I will tell everyone that he is a liar, so in addition to being cheeky, he is also bold,” Cardinal Zen added.
In his speech, Cardinal Parolin also there were signs the deal was helping unify the underground Church and the state-backed CPCA and that, while there have been “misunderstandings” over the agreement and “many other problems”, they cannot all be addressed at once.
“We know that the road to full normalization will still be a long one, as Benedict XVI predicted in 2007,” Parolin said, adding that the agreement concerns only the appointment of bishops and that no illicit appointments had occurred since the deal.
Zen dismissed this: “All legitimate bishops, but in a Church that is objectively schismatic, is that good? Is it progress? Is this the beginning of what kind of journey?”
His comments come as Catholic Hong Kong businessman Jimmy Lai said he would stay in the territory to face criminal charges from his support for pro-democracy protests.
Lai told the Napa Institute: “When you lift yourself above your own self-interest, you find the meaning of life. You find you’re doing the right thing, which is so wonderful. It changed my life into a different thing.”
He accused the Chinese Communist Party of wanting to replace religion with government ideology.
“If I go away, I not only give up my destiny, I give up God, I give up my religion, I give up what I believe in,” he said.
“I am what I am. I am what I believe. I cannot change it. And if I can’t change it, I have to accept my fate with praise.”