Outdoors, a night of mist and drizzling rain on the slopes of Tai Ping Shan (otherwise known to Hong Kongers as Victoria Peak). But here indoors, good food, good red wine, and good conversation, and all thanks to the hospitality of Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.
Shortly before Christmas, His Eminence hosted Jody (my wife and Santa Clara University colleague) and me at a dinner in the private dining room of a guesthouse owned by the Catholic diocese of Hong Kong. For Cardinal Zen it was a chance to publicize once again his longstanding concerns about the future of Catholicism in China. For us it was an extraordinary opportunity to meet a hero of the 21st-century Church, a defender of Christ, and a tireless foe of the Chinese Communist Party.
Today - CCP - Eminence - Lifetime - Challenges
Many today fear antagonizing the CCP. But His Eminence can draw on a lifetime of surviving harsh challenges. A childhood in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Emigration to Hong Kong just ahead of Mao Tse-Tung’s conquest of the mainland. And a return to China during the Cultural Revolution as a member of the Salesian order of priests, where he witnessed close-up the brutalities inflicted on Christians by Mao’s hordes of Red Guards.
As bishop of Hong Kong and subsequently as a cardinal appointed by Benedict XVI, His Eminence has repeatedly defied Beijing. He spoke out against the Communists for their massacre of students in Tiananmen Square. He defended Falun Gong followers as the CCP moved to crush them. And he has voiced support for the right of Hong Kongers to have some say in how they’re governed even as Xi Jinping’s government tightens its grip on the former Crown colony.
Cardinal - Zen - Fights - Sooner - Grace
Cardinal Zen recalls all these fights as we sit down to dinner. But no sooner has he said grace than he focuses on his latest concern: the “provisional agreement”...
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