Hong Kong’s retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has slammed the Vatican for remaining silent over the Chinese cardinal Thaddeus Ma Daqin’s sudden change of opinion towards the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

Ma appeared to have abruptly switched sides to support the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in a blog post on June 12. The association was founded by the Chinese government to supervise Chinese Catholics and is not recognised by the Vatican.

joseph zen
Cardinal Joseph Zen. Photo: Stand News.

Earlier in a blog post, Ma praised the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, an organisation which he resigned from four years ago. He was put under house arrest at the Sheshan Seminary after his resignation.

Ma said that he had “once been misled by those from the outside and did things to the Patriotic Association that were wrong. After thinking about it, it was an extremely unwise move and my conscience was even more uncomfortable. I hurt those who cared about me selflessly and those who helped me…”

He said that he hoped that he could make up for his mistakes by his future actions and said that the Patriotic Association is not how people outside of China say it is.

In response, Zen said in a blog post on Wednesday, “Yes, the Vatican should clarify and give guidance, for the truth, for justice and for the good moral of love. They should protect the church’s reputation, Cardinal Ma’s reputation, and eradicate the chaos and dejection in the Chinese church. Not saying anything is irresponsible,” he said.

Thaddeus Ma Daqin
Chinese cardinal Thaddeus Ma Daqin. Photo: UCA News.

Chinese authorities have been cracking down on religion in recent months and removed crosses on churches and arrested Christians in Zhejiang province last August.

Cardinal Zen is known for his outspokenness on issues regarding human rights, political freedom and religious liberty, often attracting criticism from the Chinese Communist Party.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.