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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Pope hopes Church can operate freely in China

VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) — Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his closeness to Catholics in China and his hope that the Church there can operate with “freedom and tranquility,” but without mentioning the case of a 90-year-old cardinal who was arrested in Hong Kong.

In his words before the people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, the pontiff stressed that May 24 is the day of “the Blessed Mother Mary, Protector of Christians” and noted that Mary is the patron saint of Catholics in China.

“This joyous circumstance offers me the opportunity to renew my expression of spiritual closeness with them,” Francis said.

“I follow with attention and participation the life and sometimes complex issues of the faithful and pastors, and I pray for them every day,” he added.

Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested on May 11 along with at least three other individuals on suspicion of conspiring with international forces to undermine China’s national security. He was released that same night.

Zen has been a strong critic of China and has criticized the agreement between the Vatican and China in 2018 on the appointment of bishops in the Asian country. He considers that pact, which should be resumed this year, as a betrayal of Catholics who practice their faith clandestinely in China so as not to be harassed by the communist regime.

In his speech, the pope invited those present to pray with him “so that the Church in China, in freedom and tranquility, can live in effective communion with the Universal Church and fulfill its mission of announcing the Gospel to all, and thus offer a positive contribution to the material and spiritual progress of society”.

World Nation News Desk
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