Pope voices hope church in China can operate in freedom

May 21, 2022, 5:21 PM | Updated: May 22, 2022, 6:01 am
Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Regina Coeli noon prayer from the window of hi...

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Regina Coeli noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his spiritual closeness to Catholics in China, voicing hope that the church there operates in “freedom and tranquility,” but making no mention of a 90-year-old cardinal who was recently arrested in Hong Kong.

Addressing the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the pontiff’s traditional Sunday remarks, Francis noted that the church celebrates, on May 24, the “Blessed Mother Mary, Help of Christians,” and recalled that Mary is the patron of Catholics in China.

“The joyful circumstance offers me the occasion to renew to them assurance of my spiritual closeness,” the pontiff said. He added that “I follow with attention and participation the life and the matters of the faithful and pastors, often complex, and I pray every day for them.”

Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested in May 11 along with at least three others on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces to endanger China’s national security. He was released later that night.

Zen has been scathing in his criticism of China and has blasted the Vatican’s agreement in 2018 with China over the nomination of bishops in that country. He has characterized the deal, which is up for renewal this year, as a sell-out of Christians who worship in underground congregations in China to avoid harassment by authorities of the Communist regime.

Francis in his remarks invited the faithful in the square to join him in prayer, “so that the church in China, in freedom and tranquility, can live in effective communion with the universal church and can exercise its mission to announce the Gospel to all, offering, thusly, a positive contribution to the spiritual and material progress of society.”

The Vatican-China deal aims at reducing tensions over the Chinese insistence on influence over the nomination of bishops, which, according to the Vatican, is the prerogative of pontiffs.

The Vatican has contended that the accord prevents an even deeper schism in the Chinese church after Beijing in the past named bishops without the pope’s consent. The deal regularized the status of seven of these “illegitimate” bishops and brought them into full communion with the pope.

The arrests, including that of Zen, in Hong Kong expanded a blanket crackdown on all forms of dissent, penetrating further into the city’s long-respected economic, religious and educational institutions.

The Vatican has said it learned of Zen’s arrests with “concern” and was following “the situation with extreme attention.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Uzbek president backs off proposal to prevent secession vote

MOSCOW (AP) — The president of Uzbekistan has backed off proposed constitutional changes that would have prevented the Karakalpakstan region from holding a referendum on splitting away from the country. A large protest against the proposed changes broke out Friday in the region’s capital, Nuku. Demonstrators reportedly tried to seize government buildings and clashed with […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian servicemen prepare to go on duty to their positions at the frontline near Kharkiv, Ukrain...
Associated Press

Governor: Russians gaining foothold in pivotal Ukraine city

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are strengthening their positions in a grueling fight to capture the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, the region’s governor said Sunday. Ukrainian fighters have spent weeks trying to defend the city of Lysychansk, and to keep it from falling to Russia, as neighboring Sievierodonetsk did […]
1 day ago
FILE - A boy holds a sign saying "All men are created equal," as he attends a protest on June 7, 20...
Associated Press

The long, ongoing debate over ‘All men are created equal’

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Jennings is CEO of the Lambda Legal organization, a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights. He sees his mission in part as fulfilling that hallowed American principle: “All men are created equal.” “Those words say to me, ‘Do better, America.’ And what I mean by that is we have never been […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Bus falls into deep ravine in southwest Pakistan, killing 19

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A passenger bus slid off a mountain road and fell into a deep ravine in heavy rain in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing 19 people and injuring 12 others, a government official said. Mahtab Shah, assistant administrator for the district of Shirani in Baluchistan province, said about 35 passengers were traveling […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics play in game 4 of series

Oakland Athletics (26-54, fifth in the AL West) vs. Seattle Mariners (38-42, third in the AL West) Seattle; Sunday, 4:10 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Athletics: Frankie Montas (3-8, 3.10 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 99 strikeouts); Mariners: Robbie Ray (6-6, 3.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 105 strikeouts) FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK LINE: Mariners -153, Athletics +129; over/under is 6 1/2 […]
1 day ago
FILE - A pro-Russian separatist clears the way for a combat vehicle in Slovyansk, Ukraine, Wednesda...
Associated Press

Splintered Ukrainian city braces for new battle with Russia

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — A group of young off-duty Ukrainian soldiers gathered at a military distribution center to enjoy a rare respite from the fighting that has again engulfed their fractured home in eastern Ukraine. As they shared jokes and a pizza, artillery explosions could be heard a few kilometers away — a reminder of […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Pope voices hope church in China can operate in freedom