Diplomats from Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and other European countries were in the courtroom to attend Zen’s hearing.
The cardinal’s arrest earlier this month sparked reactions around the world. A Vatican spokesman said that the Holy See “is following the development … with extreme attention.”
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to “cease targeting Hong Kong’s advocates and to immediately release those who have been unjustly detained and charged, like the Cardinal Joseph Zen … and others arrested today.”
David Alton, an independent member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the U.K. parliament, described the cardinal’s arrest as “an act of outrageous intimidation.”
Pope Francis said in his Regina Coeli address on May 22 that he is praying for the Church in China and “attentively and actively following the often complex life and situations of the faithful and pastors” there.
Without specifically mentioning Zen by name, the pope called on people to pray for Catholics in China “so that the Church in China, in freedom and tranquility, might live in effective communion with the universal Church, and might exercise its mission of proclaiming the Gospel to everyone.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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