Aboard the papal plane, 26 September, 2022 / 8:01 pm (ACI Africa).
As Cardinal Joseph Zen begins his trial in Hong Kong, a number of Catholic leaders and human rights activists have come out with statements of support for the 90-year-old bishop emeritus.
Zen and five others are charged with failing to register properly a fund that provided legal aid to pro-democracy protesters. An outspoken critic of Beijing’s communist regime, Zen served as a trustee of the "612 Humanitarian Relief Fund" that helped pay legal and medical bills for protesters arrested and hurt during the 2019 demonstrations in Hong Kong.
These are the Catholic leaders, scholars, and human rights activists who have publicly expressed their solidarity with Zen as his trial commences:
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, wrote in support of Zen in Avvenire Sept. 23.
“Cardinal Zen is a 'man of God'; at times intemperate, but submissive to the love of Christ, who wanted him to be his priest, deeply in love, like Don Bosco, with youth,” wrote Filoni.
He concluded his statement, which he called “a testimony to the truth,” by saying: “Cardinal Zen is not to be condemned. Hong Kong, China and the Church have a devoted son in him, not to be ashamed of.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence made an appeal for prayers on Twitter on Sept. 19 as Zen’s trial was scheduled to begin (it was postponed because the judge contracted COVID-19):
“Today be sure to remember our brother in faith, 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen who is on trial in China, and also the Church in China which is regularly attacked and restricted by the government. And pray for Christians everywhere who are being persecuted for their faith,” he wrote
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler wrote on Sept. 18: