• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:17pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2014, 4:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 3:48pm

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen and the art of anti-communism

A fanatic has been described as one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

An ideologue is someone who is ever alert to his enemy's atrocities but never his own camp's.

Our very own Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is both a fanatic and an ideologue. Everything traces back to his anti-communism, including his fight for democracy in Hong Kong and his fervent wish to see China's government collapse.

The new pope has worked to improve relations with Beijing. Now there is talk of a visit. And before you even say Francis, our good cardinal has jumped into the fray to try to sabotage the diplomatic outreach. "Don't come," he said. "You would be manipulated."

Given the kind of bankers, diplomats and mafia dons the Vatican has at its service, this spiritual state is well versed in the ways of the world. So don't you worry your pretty old head about the boss being taken advantage of?

Zen said the faithful in China were persecuted and Beijing continued to appoint its own illegitimate bishops. All true. But could it be that antagonism with the Vatican was a factor in this? What's wrong with seeking improved diplomatic relations with Beijing? The Vatican, after all, is by international convention a state. So why not? Well, it's Zen's all-embracing anti-communism again. But nary a word from Zen against the Vatican's dirty internal politics and corruption or its tolerance of thousands of paedophile priests over decades and across continents.

The shallowness of Zen's democratic commitment can be seen by his "not in my backyard" attitude towards local school reform. For more than a decade, the cardinal has been the single greatest obstacle to introducing accountability and better governance in Catholic schools.

The government may have won in the top court but he has succeeded in stalling the implementation of basic school-based management requirements in Catholic schools. And the Education Bureau is too clobbered to enforce them. Why this staunch opposition? Because Zen thinks the government would slip in communist propaganda if the church couldn't keep dogmatic control. It's that anti-communism again.

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18

This article is now closed to comments

ngsw
Politician churchmen are always troubles. The vanity for power, especially beyond the church, are so strong that even churchmen are not immune to.
whymak
Someone should also ask what he did with Lai Chee Ying's personal gift of tens of millions.
Didn't Christ say that all sins could be forgiven except ones committed by Pharisees for their sin against the Holy Ghost? Makes sense. Are then comatose brains of Pharisees similar to Cardinal Zen's? When the Cardinal insists Chinese leaders as Satan incarnate but don't recognize them or others as human beings, isn't he shutting out the Holy Spirit? Worst, he thinks the Holy Father is possessed. Why doesn't he offer Pope Francis a few exorcism sessions?
It's almost comical to find HK Catholics like Martin Lee, James Lai and Donald Tsang who hold this holy man in awe.
So may be his faithful should walk out on him when he chants "Veni Creator Spiritus."
whymak
Educated by Brothers of the Christian Schools at SJC, I have nothing but gratitude for their dedication and immense patience in teaching. Whereas they are shining examples of Catholicism that reminds us the humility in learning and the banishment of hate, Cardinal Zen stands out as the antithesis of every Catholic virtue, an intransigent foe of reason and an incorrigible political charlatan.
I mock the essential intolerance, ideology and superstitions that come bundled with Christian fundamentalism, but I have no problem with Abrahamic faith practiced among family and friends while still maintaining enough latitude to assess objectively roles played by religions through history.
However packaged, Communism and Democracy are religions. But that doesn't give Zen the right to demonize and ostracize other Chinese wearing Marxist labels. Marxism-Leninism -- whatever that means to some -- is fair game because of its dogmas and rigid doctrines, but it is nowhere as destructive as unadulterated hatred advocated by the Cardinal and dark passions expressed without reservation by some readers in Mr. Lo's columns here and elsewhere.
Kubrick
Alex, you only skim the surface of the hypocrisy that Zen displays. He belongs to an organization that has no democratic features, an organization that has been a blight on humanity for centuries. Let me stick to recent history only. The Catholic Church has covered up the activities of **** priests by moving them to new parishes, destroying evidence and intimidating those victims who sought to speak out. To this day, the Pope still refuses to hand over evidence the Vatican has in hand regarding the rape of children by its priests.
The Catholic Church was complicit in the 1994 Rwandan genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 1 million people.
The Catholic Church condemns millions to a terrible death by HIV/AIDS, because it opposes the use of condoms.
There is a reason that Zen calls his followers 'his flock' because like sheep they blindly adhere to his every word without any critical thinking.
Byebye
Good analysis, Alex. I wonder Cardinal Zen still read the Bible? I suggest he starts with the Lord's Prayers. I do wish the Pope can remove the "Cardinal" title from him; the Pope has excommunicated the mafia and got rid of his ungodly religious men under him. Pope is doing God's work. From what I understand a cardinal is a "prince" of the Roman Catholic Churches and is usually a bishop" - do you fit into this with your worldly doctrine and ideas, Cardinal or Mr Zen?
wonderkov
Good attempt at character assassination.
mymak
How is he supposed to behave? Catholicism and Communism are simply not compatible. You are obviously anti-Catholic and normally I would agree with how bad they are, but your arguments could simply be reversed if applied to a Communist who was anti-Catholic.
johnyuan
I am ambivalent about the Catholics in Hong Kong including those run school and those students converted to become one. I have no qualm with the educators at least for those years I was a student under their care. They really run good schools.
.
But I have great qualm about those students who are graduates of Catholic schools and became converted Catholics. A large group of our shakers and movers inside and outside the government are this bunch. Unfortunately, if I were their school headmaster I would just ask if I have failed my job religiously and educationally. Many of them are shades of crooks or outright crooks.
.
This is my very depressed view of the state of being those Catholics in Hong Kong. But I am still fond of Tak Sun Anglo Chinese School - my primarily school ran by the Immaculate Conception sisters from Canada who were straight but loving.
53b8b842-6478-44f6-a27c-74250a320969
Though the Chinese government has evolved since Mao, it remains a communist oligarchy. Its need to strictly control all facets of the military, economy, law, births, politics and religion to remain in power. One would think that anyone in Hong Kong recognizes that Beijing has no problem lying when it feels it’s best – what human rights covenants has it signed and not kept, what was the handover deal from Great Britain?
While you readily admit that underground Catholics are persecuted and Illegitimate bishops are appointed, I’m surprised at the suggestion of antagonism by the Vatican. You obviously haven’t paid attention in recent years the various cardinals from around the world visiting Patriotic churches and personages, the numbers of clergy and religious being educated in Maryknoll facilities and the Jesuits overlooking and assisting these government types. Beijing is used to getting its way lately, as it spreads money around the world, and it must be irritating to know that it can’t always have its way. Since Pope Pius XII, who told the communist government in no uncertain terms, that the Catholic Church will stand its ground - it must continue to do so. If not, all those who refused to give in and were martyred for the Faith will have died for naught.
There are very few Catholic Church leaders that are so well respected and listened to among the Catholic laity - Cardinal Zen is certainly one of them. Hong Kong should be proud.
Daniel Lee
Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen should concern himself more about the sex abuse going on in the Catholic Church. Also he should stop being so hateful of things he doesn't understand.

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