The 90 year old Cardinal Zen is on trial in China. But don’t worry, the Vatican is “monitoring” the situation. The mainstream media is also completely silent. If you want news on this you have to go to Catholic sources or oddly enough, Al Jazeera. So yeah, it’s come to this. Al-Jazeera is more committed to news than our media.

You wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media but this is a big deal. Britney Griner is in a Russian jail for possession of drugs. That’s been in the news quite a bit. But nowhere do you see reports that Cardinal Zen is being persecuted for standing up for freedom, faith, and love.

I guess marijuana is cooler than faith.

The technical charge is that Cardinal Zen didn’t register a charitable fund to help pay the legal fees of people facing trial in relation to the 2019 Hong Kong protests. He was arrested under the National Security Law and accused of “colluding with foreign forces.”

He has pled not guilty and is expected to argue that he had a right to associate under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the mini-constitution that has been in place since the British handed the territory over to China in 1997.

I read these quotes in Al Jazeera about why the Chinese CCP is actually persecuting Cardinal Zen. Spoiler alert -it’s not a paperwork thing:

“The Chinese government wants to cut off all forms of organizing and solidarity that run outside of the Communist Party’s control in Hong Kong,” William Nee, research and advocacy coordinator at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said in an emailed response to questions. “The fact that Cardinal Zen is compassionate, caring, and well-respected in Hong Kong actually makes him a threat to the ruling authorities.”

“Cardinal Zen made the ultimate self-sacrifice,” Andreas Fulda, author of The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, told Al Jazeera in emailed comments. “Deep down he must have known that the dictatorship in Beijing would never budge. Undeterred he advocated for Christians in mainland China. Firmly committed to the principle of non-violence, he was part of an influential ecumenical alliance of faith leaders advocating for liberal democracy in Hong Kong.”

The Vatican said in May that they would “closely monitor” events.

Thank goodness for their monitoring, huh?

When the pope was recently asked about religious freedom in China and Zen in particular, he said that while it was “not easy to understand the Chinese mentality”, it had to be “respected.”

On Zen, he said: “He says what he feels and we see that there are limitations [in Hong Kong]”.

The pope added that he preferred to “choose the path of dialogue.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Cardinal Zen, huh? Why does the path of dialogue seem so silent when it comes to speaking out for Cardinal Zen?

Once again, it seems “dialogue” just means “Shutup.”

Just this week, the Vatican renewed its provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops. Think there’s a connection?