Let me join Fr. Giampietro in remembering Vatican II (free translation from my blog – 19-7-2020)

Fr. Giampietro started a series of written articles and videos to commemorate the 50 years of Vatican II, presenting a recent book by an Australian theologian Ormond Rush “The Vision of Vatican II”.

Vatican II happened 50 years ago, but it surely doesn’t belong to the past, its light still leads the Church through the darkness of her journey today.

I and Fr. Giampietro are almost coeval. When he left Italy to come as a newly ordained missionary priest to Hong Kong, I went to Italy to pursue my studies of theology in view of priestly ordination. Around that time John XXIII announced his intention to convoke an Ecumenical Council, we young priests and seminarians, welcomed that announcement with jubilation.

The last Ecumenical Council (Vatican I) was already 90 years back away, and with the Papal Infallibility proclaimed in that Council, few expected any more Ecumenical Council.

But in the 90 years of history fast and deep changes happened in the society in many fields. A thorough assessment of the new situation in which the Church found herself was strongly felt necessary.

From Fr. Giampietro’s first article I can understand what kind of expectations from the council were nurtured in his mind. He said: “from 19 to 24 years of age I realized big changes in my way of thinking”: moving away from the “Tridentine culture” through different readings, some of which belonged to “forbidden literature”.

As about me, I grew up in Shanghai till 16 years of age. Experience of foreign invasion and poverty was part of my childhood, but on the other side I received a rich formation in Catholic faith from French Jesuits first, and then from the Salesians of Don Bosco, that faith and the accompanying joy  always reigned in my heart in spite of all the hardships of life.

In 1948 I moved to Hong Kong just in time to avoid the atheist dictatorship. Life in Hong Kong was more comfortable than in Shanghai, but the religious fervour and spiritual joy kept growing through the years of novitiate, philosophy studies and training in Salesian work.

When in 1955, I was sent by my religious superior to study in Italy (Turin) I was 23, more or less 3 years before Fr. Giampietro left Italy for Hong Kong. That means I went into a similar situation as Fr. Giampietro described in that short quotation above. I also “realized big changes in my way of thinking”. In the Pontifical University, with students coming from all continents, I found myself in the real big world, in a Church new to me, which was in a state of awakening and confusion. “A thorough assessment of the situation was strongly felt necessary”.

To me, a simple-minded young man, the “Italian” situation of those days appeared to be very “nervous”, “on the defense”.

Fr. Giampietro mentioned the “forbidden literature”. Even in the Italian Church traces of “fascist” style governance could be seen. Few Italian theologians dared to write, most theological books in Italian were translation from other European languages.

(One day 4 notoriously conservative Italian Cardinals pressured the Salesian superiors to fire our Professor of social ethics, considered too “progressive”. But fortunately, that was an isolated episode.)

The teaching community in our University was open-minded enough to let “the wheat and the weeds grow together”: as students of an university we were allowed to be informed of all the many “currents” of ideas in the Church, but our Professors were also wise enough to help us to distinguish between the two.

I am afraid it was this “fascism in the Italian Church” to cause that strong reaction, an expectation of a “liberating” Council, to free the Church from the so called “Tridentine Culture”.

I have not read the book of Fr. Ormond Rush, innumerable such books appeared after the Council, they present a “comprehensive” vision of the Council, the “fundamental principles” behind the many documents. They may be useful to help having a general understanding of the Council,

but there is a danger: a particular “comprehensive” presentation of the Council may not be faithful to the documents of the Council, but rather a subjective understanding of it.

I repeat: I have not read the book by Fr. Rush, but I allow myself to say that Fr. Giampietro’s “comprehensive” presentation of the Council’s vision seems to be out of focus. In the article he seems to say that Vatican II has the merit of undoing the “Tridentine” like the cleansing of Michelangelo’s “Ultimo giudizio”. That would be extremely negative and terribly narrow a vision, and above all: out of focus.

Let us start from the fundamentals.

What are the Ecumenical Councils for?

They are not for the creation of a new Church, but for a new self-understanding. The Church was founded by Jesus Christ on the Apostles. The conclusion of the Frist Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem declared: “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves (apostles)…”.

Guided by the Holy Spirit the Ecumenical Council are the milestones on the journey of the Church through centuries, accumulating a rich heritage, showing ever brighter the true face of Christ, the Redeemer of mankind.

The Bishops, the protagonists of the Vatican II worked hard from 1959 to 1965.

I was in Rome from 1961 to 1964, working hard on my thesis of Doctorate in Philosophy. In spare time, I enjoyed, like other young priests and seminarians in Rome, all the daily hot news and gossips about the Council; the fierce battles along the stereotype of divide between conservatives and progressives; Council Fathers accusing each other with leaflets flying over Saint Peter’s square…The jokes!” (of course, the most memorable thing is the moving “good night”, that 11 October, of John XXIII, from his studio, to the faithful on St. Peter’s square, under the shining moon, concluded with “give a caress to your children, on my behalf”.)

There is a saying, not far from the truth: an Ecumenical Council starts from human efforts, then comes the devil to make trouble, but at the end the Holy Spirit brings everything to an Happy Ending.

The seed of Vatican II were sown in the minds and hearts of many believers long before 1959, then the Pope convoked the Council and set up the Preparatory Commission, which gathered materials from all the Churches and drafted the working papers; then the fierce debates in the hall. In the process sometimes charity and good manners left to be desired (the devil came!); Then the many rewritings of the documents (sometimes days were spent on a single sentence or word. How ungrateful those who despise the “minute details” in favour of the “comprehensive spirit” of the Council), only because of such hard work it was possible to reach that almost unanimity in the approval of the final documents.

The fruit of Vatican II are those 16 Documents, especially the 4 Constitutions. Through those documents you hear the real voice of the Holy Spirit.

Seminaries, comprehensive presentations, comparative analyses etc. are useful means to understand the Council, but not by ignoring the Documents themselves or manipulating the Documents.

Unfortunately, the polarization between the Conservatives and Progressives did not disappear after the Council. Fr. Giampietro mentions those who had difficulty to understand, or even refused to accept the “novelties” in Council’s decisions: they are the extreme conservatives; but there are also extreme progressives who claim that now on everything can change in the Church.

The Church is a living body it certainly grows and changes, but, as Cardinal John Henry Newman puts it, the development is “homogeneous”, i.e. with the substantial identity not altered. A boy grows into maturity and he is still the same person.

The extreme conservatives say: the Church after the Vatican II is no more the Catholic Church I received baptism in. But you were baptized in a Church which believes in one apostolic Church, led by the Pope and the Bishops as authentic teachers of faith.

The extreme progressives say: before the Council nothing was allowed to change, now with Vatican II many changes have been made, so, many things should be allowed to change also in the future. Yes, but only by a decision of the legitimate authority, not by an arbitrary choice of anybody, and surely not by undoing the past. The Holy Spirit of today doesn’t contradict the Holy Spirit of yesterday.

Let me spend few words on this “anti-Tridentine Complex”.

It is true that most Ecumenical Councils in the history were convoked to deal with a crisis (e.g. a heresy), the Tridentine (1545-1563) was one. But by fighting the heresy the Church deepened her self-knowledge.

The heretics say “sola scriptura!”, “only the Bible is enough”. The Church answered: Bible is precious but it’s a book, Jesus entrusted His Church to living human beings with the promise of His presence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The heretics say “sola fides!”, “just believe and you are saved” The Church answered: salvation is not simply a covering of sins leaving us interiorly still a “massa damnata”, the grace transforms us radically and we are given the capacity and duty to live a really “holy” life.

(Today we don’t call them heretics, we call them brothers, and rightly. But when facing mortal danger you may be excused if you forget the niceties.)

In the Council clarifications were given on the nature of the Sacraments, especially of Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood.

For such enriching supply of Church teaching into the deposit of faith, how can we not to be grateful to the Lord?

When searching for the causes of the protests of the protestants, Tridentine Council recognized serious deficiencies in the formation and care of the clergy. Wise and effective remedies were agreed upon and hence a formidable revival of faith, piety and of missionary zeal: this is the Catholic reform or “Counter-reform” in opposition to protestant reformation. I think both I myself and Fr. Giampietro are beneficiaries of that reform.

The protesters say “latin is invented by the devil”! Come on! The Church saved the Greek-Roman Culture (philosophy literature, art, music) and used it to educate the invading “barbarians”, after the fall of Roman Empire, laying foundation of the modern European civilization.

Some may not know that the modern philosophers and scientists still used to write in latin (Francis Bacon 1561-1626, Galileo Galilei 1564-1642, René Descartes 1596-1650, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1646-1716, Immanuel Kant 1724-1804).

The Tridentine theology mainly in latin saved the faith of the Church of the lay, and the Tridentine liturgy in latin with the gregorian chant (including the “dies irae”) nourished the piety of generations and sustained the courage of innumerable martyrs.

It sounds blasphemous to say that Vatican II had to clean the Church of the Tridentine “dirt”.

Then, are we not talking about vision? Vision is looking ahead, not backwards. The vision of Vatican II is in the Opening speech of Pope John XXIII, 11 October 1962: “from the renewed, serene and calm adherence to all the teachings of the Church, in its integrity and precision, as resplendent mainly in the conciliar acts of Trent and Vatican I, the Christian and Catholic spirit of the entire world awaits to go one step further towards a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciences that is in a more perfect correspondence with fidelity to authentic doctrine, studying it and exposing it through the forms of research and the literary formulas of modern thought.”

This is the meaning of “aggiornamento”, it does not mean to deny our past or to follow all the secular fashions!


Let us admire the divin plan, the one history of salvation. Human freedoms may fail, but God guides the Church securely to the goal. It’s a journey in continuity not through ruptures.

  • The history of Israel was a continuous alternation of fidelity and unfaithfulness. But the true faith of Abraham, through Mary, Jesus and the Apostles, has been transmitted to us.
  • The Old Testament belongs to us too, and the Church of the New Testament is open to everybody.
  • The psalms are prayers which fit every situation of our life. The voice of the prophets rings still relevant to the Church in modern society.
  • We must be grateful to Greek Culture just for the word “Homoousios” which helped the Church to express with exactitude the divin nature of Jesus, true God and true man.
  • The latin language was instrumental to keep the many European and missionary Churches united to Rome. The rich heritage of centuries of liturgical music and ceremonials nurtured the piety of believes. Why should we be surprised, if today’s young people, while sincerely accepting the Church’s liturgical reform, still appreciate the Tridentine Mass?
  • The Church carries on her journey “admixt world’s tribulation and God’s consolation” (St. Augustin “city of God”) “to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself” (Eph. 4:13)
  • Vatican II is very aware that errors persist in the world, but the Council doesn’t intend to condemn them, it wants to help man to realize how those errors, especially a willful refusal of God, are not conducive to real human happiness.

The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern world, the most typical expression of the Council’s Vision, lists all the threats to and anxieties of modern man, but is fully confident that the Church is able to come to man’s aid, if only she succeeds to reveal to him the true face of Jesus.









墨索里尼(Mussolini)執政的廿多年影響了意大利不少。連教會裡也有些法西斯主義(Fascist)作風。恩神父說他那時「開始接收不同的訊息,閱讀不同的刊物,甚至那些為當時的教會屬不合法的刊物」。那時政府和教會很嚴厲控制言論,意大利作者不敢多寫作,許多神學書也是從外文翻譯的。幾位意大利「保守」樞機聯合向慈幼會總部長上施壓,辭去了一位慈大社會倫理學的教授;又向耶穌會總部長上施壓,辭去了額我略大學兩位聖經專家,都是因為這些教授「太先進」。我們那時年輕的修生和神父當然都站在「先進派」那邊。教宗若望廿三召開大公會議,提創 aggiornamento(這詞準確的翻譯是「向今日的人類福傳」),使我們都很興奮。

恩神父那時剛到香港,我卻從1961至1964年正在羅馬慈大攻讀哲學博士學位,每天除了認真在學業上下功夫,也緊隨大公會議的進展(「八卦」新聞及梵二「笑話」也是我們的「日用糧」)(最不能忘記的是大公會議開幕那天晚上,若望廿三從他書房窗口給伯多祿廣場上信徒的good night訓話)。當然這些祇是大公會議的花絮,聖神所領導和催成的、大公會議的重要成果、正是恩神父所提的「十六份文件」。(我以為每位有知識的現代教友,除了聖經,都應該隨手有一本《梵蒂岡第二屆大公會議文獻》及一本《天主教教理》。)



恩神父很欣賞一位澳洲著名神學家Fr. Ormond Rush的書“The Vision of Vatican II”(梵二的憧憬),他雖無意「推銷」那本書,但鼓勵大家去「閱讀它」。我慚愧未認識這本書。其實梵二後的50年內這樣的書多不勝數。











  • 祂經過以色列彎彎曲曲的旅程,把舊約中寶貴的信仰,藉着瑪利亞、耶穌、宗徒們傳給了我們。難道我們不承認亞巴郎為信德之父,甚至以他為恥嗎?
  • 耶路撒冷的會議認定了新約教會的普世性,難道也就否定了舊約嗎?
  • 初期教會經過嚴重的危機,用希臘文的「同性同體」肯定了耶穌是真天主真人,我們能不欣賞希臘的文化嗎?
  • 羅馬教會這麼長久的歷史中,藉着拉丁文及額我略歌豐富了我們的信仰理解及祈禱熱情。沒有好好在拉丁文神學中吸收了信仰的首批傳教士,誰會把那信仰用我們的語言傳給我們?有人,尤其青年人,絕不抗拒梵二,但也喜歡以前的祈禱方式,我們該感到奇怪嗎?

恩神父用了一大片段講述他看了西斯汀小堂刷新了的米高安哲奴(Michelangelo)的壁畫非常欣喜。我很高興。(我本來以為他對那公審判的圖像會有意見;那不是代表比較保守的dies irae的末世觀嗎?梵二的末世觀不是比較樂觀的嗎?當然天堂地獄是當信道理,但梵二不是更強調天主意欲拯救每個人的心願嗎(LG 16, GS 22)?)




它面對了兩個危險的異端:「sola scriptura, sola fides。聖經是信仰唯一準則;人祇要信就能得救。」不,教會說,聖經是書,而耶穌把教會交給一班活生生的人;有信仰才能得救,但信仰帶來內在的救恩,使獲救者應該,且有能力按信仰生活,結出善行的果實。還有關於鐸品和聖體聖事的重要信道也在大會中得以澄清。



每個大公會議當然有自我更新的一面,更有外來攻擊的可怕的一面。教會憲章說:「教會在自己的懷抱中,卻有罪人,教會是聖的,同時卻常需要潔煉,不斷實行補贖,追求革新……教會是在世界的迫害與天主的安慰之中,繼續着自己的旅程……教會有內在與外來的困難,並且在幽暗中向世界揭示主的奧跡。」(LG 8)


其實梵二絕對沒有表示要改正特倫多,它的視線是向前的,不是向後的,講「梵二的憧憬」(Vision)不也是要我們向前看嗎?尤其在最劃時代的《論教會在現代世界牧職憲章》內更易看到梵二的這特點。這文件問的是:我們處在怎樣的世界裡?對這個世界我們可以供獻怎樣的服務?文件的開端是「我們這時代的人們、尤其貧困者和遭受折磨者、所有的喜樂與期望、愁苦與焦慮、亦是基督徒的喜樂與期望、愁苦和焦慮」。雖然「喜樂和期望」放在「愁苦和焦慮」之前,而且在拉丁文版中「喜樂和期望」兩個詞成了文憲的題目“Gaudium et Spes”,但梵二在描寫現代人類處境時,幾乎「危險和挑戰」勝過「喜樂和期望」。


所謂 The right hermeneutic of the Vatican Council,怎樣解讀梵二,  hermeneutic of rupture or hermeneutic of Continuity 按割絕原則還是連貫原則?

如果我們前面分析的沒有錯,那末當然是連貫原則、大公會議不是為另立一個教會,是對教會另一次的自我認識,為再次、更全面地知道自己是誰,這樣也會更知道自己在社會的定位是在哪裡。教會是誰,是早由基督決定了的,教會在時光的進展中常該忠於它的本質,這努力當然是前後連貫的,按紐曼(J.H. Newman)樞機的說法是Homogeneous同質的。一個孩子長大了肯定還是他,不會變成另一件東西。不能從新開始。變化的基礎正是那不變的本性,是由天賦的,不是自己設計的。設計者是全能全善,充滿愛心的天主,我們能不歡天喜地?



恩保德神父的錄影中談及本教區在60年代末的教區會議(Diocesan Convention)我有興趣分享參與那會議的經歷。(下回分解)


Oggi 3 Luglio un anno fa

In questi giorni quali pensieri stanno occupando la mente della gente di Hong Kong? Qualcuno forse sta riandando alla mezzanotte del primo luglio 23 anni or sono: c’era chi festeggiava il ritorno alla madrepatria con canti e danze, c’era dall’altra parte della strada gente che gridava proteste (similmente oggi il passaggio della “National Security Law” ha diviso la popolazione di Hong Kong).

Qualcuno forse ricorda con nostalgia la marcia del primo luglio dell’anno scorso, “e’ stata l’ultima della storia?”. “Sono finite in una completa sconfitta le sfilate dei ‘pacifici–razionali–non violenti’?”. “Che cosa abbiamo ottenuto con le proteste contro l’articolo 23, con ‘Occupy Central’, con le proteste contro la legge dell’estradizione e contro le brutalita’ della polizia, noi uniti, i pacifici e gli aggressivi?”

C’e’ chi preoccupato si domanda: come facciamo adesso che e’ arrivata la legge della National Security?

Alla mia memoria invece si ostina a presentarsi quel che mi era capitato il 3 luglio l’anno scorso a Roma.

Il 28 giugno l’anno scorso usciva un documento della Santa Sede “Orientamenti pastorali della Santa Sede circa la registrazione civile del clero in Cina”.

La cosa strana era che il documento veniva emanato dalla “Santa Sede”, senza specificazione di quale dipartimento e con nessuna firma di persone responsabili. Piu’ tardi ho chiesto al card. F. Filoni, l’allora Prefetto della Congregazione per l’Evangelizzazione dei Popoli: “Lei ha forse rifiutato di firmare?” La risposta fu “Nessuno mi ha chiesto di firmare”. Ho chiesto al Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede: “Non e’ passato quel documento attraverso la Sua previa visione?” “No! Oggi tutto quel che riguarda la Chiesa in Cina e’ esclusivamente nelle mani del Segretario di Stato”.

Siccome giudico il documento estremamente immorale, il 29 giugno ho preso l’aereo per Roma, giunto la’ la mattina del 30 ho consegnato subito una mia lettera al Santo Padre presso la Casa Santa Marta, in cui pregavo Papa Francesco di concedere, entro 4 giorni, una seduta di discussione sul documento tra me e Parolin, alla Sua presenza.

Non ricevendo risposta il primo Luglio consegno un’altra lettera insieme con i miei “dubbia” (vedi il mio blog) sul documento che mi risulta contrario alla sana dottrina della fede in quanto incoraggia i fedeli ad iscriversi ad una Chiesa che oggettivamente e’ scismatica.

Il 2 luglio arriva la risposta: “Basta che parli al Card. Parolin”. “Dica al Santo Padre, fu la mia risposta, parlare con Parolin senza la Sua presenza sarebbe una perdita di tempo. Allora torno a Hong Kong a mani vuote.”

Il giorno 3 arriva un invito del Papa a cena, in Santa Marta, insieme con il Card. Parolin.

La cena fu molto semplice, durante la quale credendo disdicevole bisticciare durante il pasto, parlavo della situazione di Hong Kong. Il Card. Parolin stava zitto tutto il tempo. Il Santo Padre era pieno di affetto verso di me, ma notavo in lui qualche imbarazzo. Alla fine della cena dissi: “Allora possiamo parlare un po’ del documento?” Il Santo Padre  rispose: “Mi interessero’ della cosa, ci guardero’ dentro” e mi accompagno’ alla porta.”

“Me ne interessero’” e’ stato l’unico trofeo che portavo a casa con il mio lungo viaggio!? No! Non torno a mani vuote, ho potuto vedere finalmente coi miei occhi che Parolin manipola il Santo Padre. Lo ha obbligato a cenare con me ma non gli concede di assistere alla nostra discussione. Con cio’ mi ha voluto dire: “Si’, vedo che il Santo Padre ti vuol bene ma tu vedi che egli obbedisce a me. Vattene e non tornare piu’”.

Dopo 3 mesi di silenzio da parte di Papa Francesco, quando verso fine settembre, mandavo copia del mio libro “Per l’amore del mio popolo non tacero’” a tutti I cardinali, ho accluso una mia lettera con cui pregavo le Loro Eminenze di interessarsi della sorte della Chiesa in Cina (v. il mio blog). Ho ricevuto alcune gentili risposte con promesse di preghiera.

Uno spiacevole intermezzo capito’ quando il “neonato” decano del Collegio cardinalizio Card. Giovanni Battista Re credette suo dovere di rimproverarmi per quella mia lettera (non so con quale autorita’ perche’ il decano e’ solo il “Primus inter pares” senza nessuna autorita’; ma si sa che non e’ stata sua l’iniziativa). Risposi alla sua il primo marzo con un supplement il 10 marzo (v. mio blog).

Oggi 3 luglio un anno intero dopo quell’ultimo incontro con Papa Francesco non una parola e’ venuta da lui, avrei voluto scrivergli ma non sono sicuro se le mie lettere arrivano nelle sue mani, allora metto sul mio blog cio’ che voglio dire nella speranza che qualcuno glielo faccia avere in mano.

In questi ultimi 2 anni la Santa Sede ha fatto 3 cose riguardo alla Chiesa in Cina.

1. Prima ha firmato un accordo segreto con il Governo di Pechino sulla nomina dei vescovi.

La cosa strana e’ che esso sia segreto, non e’ neanche dato a me, un cardinale cinese, di averne visione, per cui non potrei neanche aver ragione per sostenerlo o disapprovarlo.

Una cosa si sa, esso riguarda la nomina dei vescovi e Papa Francesco dice che “il Papa avra’ l’ultima parola in materia.”

Se non posso vedere il testo cinese dell’accordo non sono sicuro se ci possa essere in esso una chiara affermazione che riconoscesse il Papa essere il supremo capo di tutta la Chiesa e percio’ l’autorita’ assoluta sulla nomina dei vescovi.

A dire il vero l’effetto dell’accordo non e’ molto evidente, perche’ anche senza un accordo c’era gia’ in pratica un modo non scritto di mutuo compromesso nel trovare un candidato accettabile da ambo le parti. E’ cosi’ che negli anni recenti molti vescovi sono stati ordinati con doppia approvazione. La Bulla di nomina, anche se non e’ permesso leggerla durante la cerimonia, la si proclamava davanti ai vescovi e preti in sagrestia prima dell’inizio della cerimonia.

Le due recenti ordinazioni episcopali, poi, hanno avuto la doppia approvazione gia’ molto tempo prima della firma dell’accordo.

Riguardo alla questione se al termine dei due anni si rinnova o no l’accordo, non abbiamo nessun elemento per averne un’opinione.

2. La seconda cosa e’ molto piu’ seria della prima: la Santa Sede ha legittimato 7 vescovi ordinati senza mandato pontificio e percio’ scomunicati.

Prima e dopo la Rivoluzione Culturale il governo ha forzato parecchi preti a ricevere l’ordinazione episcopale illegittima. Quelli che rifiutarono vennero mandati in prigione o ai campi di lavoro forzato dove molti morirono. Molti di quelli che hanno accettato l’ordinazione non sono persone cattive.

Al tempo della politica di apertura del governo, specialmente quando era Prefetto della Congregazione per l’Evangelizzazione Card. Jospeh Tomko, molti di tali vescovi illegittimi hanno avuto la possibilita’ di presentare umili suppliche alla Santa Sede per essere legittimati. La Santa Sede, dopo dovuta investigazione, li ha legittimati con grande consolazione e incoraggiamento dei vescovi e del loro popolo.

Infelicemente dopo il ritiro per limiti d’eta’ del card. Tomko, attorno all’anno 2000, la gente nel Vaticano, infatuatasi della Ostpolitik, adotto’ la politica di arrendevolezza con i comunisti cinesi. Gli opportunisti, che consideravano l’episcopato come carriera, si infiltrarono nella Chiesa e si fecero ordinare vescovi. Sette di questi, sostenuti dal governo, per molti anni, sfidando la dottrina e la legge della Chiesa, sotto la direzione del Partito Comunista Cinese hanno lavorato zelantemente per rendere la Chiesa schiava del Partito.

Nel settembre 2018 oltre che firmare un accordo con la Cina il Vaticano ha legittimato i 7 vescovi in una maniera che ci sbalordisce.

In un primo momento pensavamo che il Papa avesse solo tolto la scomunica  riaccettando nella Chiesa i 7. Supponevamo che avessero riconosciuto i loro errori ed ottenuto il perdono dal Papa. Ma non ci e’ stato possibile constatare nessun segno di pentimento e di gratitudine.

Piu’ tardi veniamo a sapere che il Papa ha dato la giurisdizione di quelle diocesi ai 7. Questo ci stupisce assai, Egli ha dato le pecore in bocca ai lupi? I 7 non hanno cambiato per niente la loro condotta. Riaffermarono la loro fedelta’ al governo ateo; invece di dimostrare riconoscenza per il generoso perdono del Papa, vanno cantando trionfo dappertutto: “guardate, come siamo stati intelligenti a stare dalla parte del governo. Siamo vincitori. Come sono stati stupidi quei vescovi che hanno ciecamente seguito il Vaticano, ora devono perfino cedere a noi il loro episcopato (Shan Tao e Ming Tong)”.

Ci avevano detto che l’accordo firmato era per garantire che i vescovi fossero veramente pastori del popolo di Dio. Quei 7 lo sono? Dal Vaticano viene un coro di giubilo:”ora tutti i vescovi in Cina sono legittimi!” Ci sentiamo veramente confusi e allibiti. Parolin dice che questo e’ solo l’inizio di un viaggio. No! questa e’ la fine della degradazione!

3. La cosa piu’ crudele e’ cio’ che avvenne attorno questo tempo l’anno scorso come ho narrato poc’anzi. Con “Gli orientamenti pastorali” il card. Parolin ha dato il colpo di grazia alla Chiesa in Cina.

Anzitutto ha soffocato la mia voce facendo sparire alla chetichella la Commissione per la Chiesa in Cina. Poi ha mandato in esilio l’Arcivescovo Savio Hon ad Atene (giovedi’ scorso la prima lettura della Messa veniva dal profeta Amos “Amazia disse ad Amos: “Vattene veggente, ritirati nel paese di Giuda”, la’ mangerai il pane e farai il profeta. Ma a Bethel non continuare piu’ a fare il profeta, perche’ questo e’ il santuario del re ed e’ la casa del regno”.)

Parolin da solo ha completato la trilogia dell’assassinio della Chiesa in Cina.

Egli incoraggia quelli della comunita’ clandestina a farsi membri dell’Associazione Patriottica, membri cioe’ di una Chiesa scismatica, a cantare “i canti di Sion” nella gabbia, come gli schiavi ebrei “presso il fiume stranier” (Salmo 137).

Egli permette che il governo confischi le chiese della comunita’ clandestina, che proibisca ai preti clandestini di celebrare Messa nelle case private e che i minori di 18 anni siano tenuti fuori dalle chiese e da ogni attivita’ religiosa.

Siccome la Santa Sede non nominera’ piu’ vescovi per la comunita’ clandestina, questa morira’ di morte naturale (ma la fede vivra’, come una volta nelle catacombe). 

Mentre tutti gemono davanti allo spauracchio della legge della National Security, come posso io essere cosi’ egoista a pensare solo alla mia Chiesa?

La liberta’ del popolo e la liberta’ religiosa non possono separarsi l’una dall’altra. In Cina non abbiamo liberta’ religiosa perche’ tutto il popolo non ha liberta’; e se alla religione e’ negata la liberta’, essa non sara’ piu’ in grado di aiutare il popolo a lottare per la liberta’.

Se Hong Kong perdera’ la sua liberta’, la Chiesa non sara’ risparmiata, e se la Chiesa perdera’ la sua liberta’, non potra’ piu’ difendere la liberta’ del popolo.

Quando tutta la societa’ deve affrontare la sfida di scegliere tra il giusto e l’iniquo, puo’ la Chiesa dispensarsi e godere la sua pace nella sua nicchia? No! non e’ possibile, non e’ permesso!

Ci viene chiesto nella presente situazione di mantenerci in una posizion“unita”. Ad ogni costo? Uniti nella verita’ o nel compromesso? Ascoltiamo ancora Amos (capo 5): “Cercate il bene e non il male…odiate il male e amate il bene e ristabilite alla porta il giudizio, forse sara’ clemente Jahve’, Dio degli eserciti, con il resto di Giuseppe”. Il Signore non si compiace delle nostre offerte e dei nostri canti, ma che “il diritto scorra come l’acqua e la giustizia come un torrente perenne”.

Perche’, mentre tutte le nazioni gridano all’ingiustizia, manca proprio la voce del Vaticano? C’entrano davvero i soldi? Perche’ il Vaticano non viene fuori a smentire la calunnia?

Alla fine lasciamoci consolare ed incoraggiare dalle parole di speranza del profeta  Amos: “In quel giorno rialzero’ la capanna caduta di Davide, riparero’ le sue brecce, rialzero’ le sue rovine e la ricostruiro’ come ai tempi di una volta (“ristabilire Hong Kong!”)…ecco viene un tempo…cambiero’ la sorte del mio popolo Israele, ricostruiranno le citta’ distrutte, vi abiteranno e pianteranno vigne e ne berranno il vino…piantero’ i giardini nelle loro terre e non saranno piu’ divelti via dalla terra che ho dato loro (Amos capitolo 9)”. (“See you there” – Arrivederci vicino al Palazzo del Consiglio Legislativo dove ha avuto inizio la resistenza popolare alla tirannia).

(Grazie Cardinal Charles Bo per aver parlato in difesa dei diritti umani).

The Third of July, Today and One Year Ago

What are people entertaining in their memory at this moment? Some may be going back to the midnight celebrations of 1st July twenty-three years ago, but others may remember demonstrations of a completely different kind (similar radically opposed reactions are taking place now at the passing of the National Security Law).

Some may remember with nostalgia the rally that took place on 1st July last year: Was it perhaps the last one in the history of Hong Kong? Was that peaceful, rational, non-violent resistance a failure? Some are asking themselves: what have we achieved with the Anti-Article 23 resistance, with the “Occupy Central” movement, and with the cooperation between “Peaceful Resistance” and “Aggressive Resistance” fighting the extradition law and police brutality?

Some say the National Security Law is here, what can we do?

What I myself have been remembering all this time, is what happened to me last year on 3rd July in Rome.

On 28th June last year a document (Bulletin No. 554) was issued by the Holy See: “Pastoral guidance for the civil registration of clergy in China” (Italian, English and Chinese).

It’s absolutely not normal that a document be issued by the Holy See without the specification of the particular Department and without the signature of the responsible authority. I questioned the then Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, Cardinal Filoni: “Did you refuse to sign the document?” He answered: “Nobody asked me to sign.” I questioned the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Had you ever seen the document before it was issued?” The answer was: “Now everything about China is exclusively in the hands of the Secretary of State.”

Since the document appeared to me to be very wrong, I took a flight to Rome the next day. In the morning of 30th June, I delivered a letter to Santa Marta, asking the Holy Father to be present, in one of the following days, at a dialogue between me and Cardinal Parolin, the obvious author of the document.

On the 1st of July, receiving no answer, I sent another letter with my “dubia” about the document, which I judged to be absolutely against the doctrine of the Church, because it encourages people to be part of a schismatic Church.

On 2nd July I was given the answer from the Pope: “You just talk to Parolin”. I said to the carrier of the answer: “It would be completely useless; so, please, tell the Holy Father I’m going back empty-handed”.

On 3rd July, the Holy Father invited me to supper with the presence of Parolin. I thought I was having a chance.

The supper was very simple during which I talked about the situation of Hong Kong. Parolin didn’t say a word. At the end I said, “May we talk about the document?” The answer from the Holy Father was: “I will look into the matter”. Then he showed me off to the door. That answer was the only reward of my long journey? Not exactly. During the supper I noticed in the Holy Father much affection for me, but also some embarrassment. I understood the supper was a plan of Parolin, who wanted to tell me: “The Holy Father has much affection for you, but he listens to me, not to you; and I refuse to talk with you about the ‘Pastoral Guidelines’ in His presence. That is the end of it.  Go home and don’t come any more.” So, I did not come back empty-handed. I had a chance to see with my eyes that Parolin is manipulating the Holy Father.

Receiving no word from the Holy Father, when I sent my book “FOR LOVE OF MY PEOPLE, I WILL NOT KEEP SILENT” to all the Cardinals at the end of September, I enclosed a letter asking them to take that matter at heart.  I received a few answers showing compassion and promising prayers. Regrettably, the new Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Re wrote a letter to all Cardinals criticizing my letter. Obviously, Parolin forced that on him. I answered him immediately (read my blog of 1st March) with a supplement later (10th March).

It’s now a whole year since my visit to Pope Francis, but still no word from him. I am not sure whether my letters can reach him, so I put now on my blog what I want to say, hoping that he may get the chance to read it through somebody.

During the last two years, the Holy See did three things that damaged our Church in China:

1) A secret agreement with Chinese government on the appointment of bishops

The peculiarity of this agreement is its secrecy. It’s not even given to me to see it. Strictly speaking we couldn’t say anything either pro or against it.  But one thing we know is that it is about the appointment of bishops.  Pope Francis said that he had the last word in the matter, but I cannot be sure of that unless I can see the Chinese version of the document. In fact, I doubt whether there could be found such a clear statement that the Pope as the leader of the Catholic Church has the supreme power of these appointments.

Now, even before the signing of the agreement, there was a non-written compromise by choosing a candidate acceptable to both sides, that’s why many bishops had a double approval.  The papal bulla could not be read during the ordination ceremony, but before the ceremony, in the sacristy; it used to be read to the bishops and the priests present.

As for the two recent episcopal ordinations, their double approval was decided a long time ago, before the signing of the agreement.

Whether the agreement, which is about to come to termination, will be renewed or not, we have nothing to say, we don’t even see its importance.

2) More damaging: the legitimization of seven ex-communicated “bishops”

Before and after the Cultural Revolution, the government had forced several priests to accept illegitimate ordination. Those who refused were sent to prison or labour camp where they could die.  Many who accepted ordination were not bad people. During the time of the government’s “Open Door Policy”, especially when cardinal Tomko was the Prefect of the Congregation of Evangelization, many such illegitimately ordained bishops had a chance to present to the Holy See their humble petition for legitimization. The Holy See after some investigation approved these bishops to great consolation and encouragement of the bishops and their people.

Unfortunately, after the retirement, because of age, of cardinal Tomko around the year 2000, people in the Holy See, with high illusion on the “Ostpolitik”, adopted the policy of appeasement with the Communists. Opportunists, who considered the episcopacy as a career, infiltrated the Church and they got ordained as bishops. Seven such ex-communicated bishops, supported by the government, for many years challenged the doctrine and the law of the Church and under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party worked hard to make the Church subservient to the Party.

In September 2018, the Holy See, besides signing the agreement, also legitimized the seven bishops in an astonishing way.

At the beginning we believed that the Pope only lifted the ex-communication welcoming them back to the Church.  We supposed that they had recognized their mis-behavior and obtained the forgiveness from the Pope, but we could not see any sign of repentance and gratitude.

Later we came to know that the Pope even gave them the jurisdiction over those dioceses. That was astonishing for us: “He is giving the sheep to the wolves!” The seven bishops showed no change in their behavior. They reaffirmed their loyalty to the atheist government. They showed no humble gratitude for the kindness of the Pope.  Instead, they went around singing triumph: “Look, how clever we are to be on the side of the government. We are the winners. How stupid those bishops who followed faithfully the Vatican! Now they have even to surrender their episcopacy (Shantou and Mingtung) to us.”

We have been told that the agreement is to guarantee true shepherds to the people of God in China.  Are those seven fellows such shepherds? The event is celebrated with great joy by Vatican people because now all the bishops in China are legitimate!?  We are simply confused!

In the past Thirteenth Week of the Year in the liturgy, we have been praying, in the Collect, to God “who made us children of light, to give us the splendor of Truth”, but for so long time we found ourselves left in confusion, and bewilderment.

Cardinal Parolin says: “This is the beginning of the journey.”  No!  It’s the end of degradation!

3) The most cruel thing is what happened last year around this time, as I have narrated in the beginning of this article: With the “Pastoral Guidelines” cardinal Parolin served the last blow to murder the Church in China.

The first thing he did was to silence my voice by making the “Commission for the Church in China” surreptitiously disappear. Then he sent Archbishop Savio Hon in exile to Athens. [On last Thursday, the first reading in the Holy Mass was from the prophet Amos: “Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” (Amos 7,12-13)]

Parolin single-handedly completes now the trilogy of murdering the Church in China.

He encourages those from the underground to join the Patriotic Association, thus becoming members of a schismatic Church, to sing the song of Sion in the bird-cage (like the Hebrew slaves beside the rivers of Babylon).

He allows the government to confiscate the churches of the underground, to prevent the priests from saying Mass in their private homes and to bar from church functions and religious activities those under eighteen years of age.

Since the Holy See will appoint no more bishops in the underground, the community will die by natural dead (but the faith can survive in the “catacombs”).

While everybody is concerned about the National Security Law, how can I be so “selfish” to be concerned only about our Church?

The freedom of the people and religious freedom cannot be separated.  In China there is no religious freedom, because there is no freedom for the people; when religion is deprived of freedom, it can no longer help the people to fight for freedom. When Hong Kong loses its freedom, the Church will not be spared either.  And when the Church loses its freedom, it can no longer defend Hong Kong’s freedom with the people.

When the whole society is challenged to choose between right and wrong, can the Church be dispensed from that choice and enjoy privately its own peace?  No! It’s not possible! It’s not allowed!  In the present situation, can We, people of the Church be united at any cost? United in the Truth? Or in obeying the dictatorship?

Let us hear again the prophet Amos: “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5, 15). The Lord doesn’t take delight in our offerings or songs, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5, 24).

Why in the roaring of all the nations, the voice of the Vatican is missing? Is it true that money has to do with this? Why is the Vatican not coming out to deny the rumors?

Lastly, let the words of Amos give us encouragement and hope: “In that day, I will restore David’s fallen shelter — I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins — and will rebuild it as it used to be (I will liberate Hong Kong).” …… “The days are coming…..I will bring my people Israel back from exile, they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine…..I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.” (Amos 9:11-15) (See you there – near the Legislative Council Building where the popular resistance started).

Cardinal Charles Bo, thank you for speaking out for Human Rights!







Holy See Press Office – Bulletin N0554 – Friday 28. 06. 2019


(簽署的竟是「聖座」,也沒有負責人的名,也沒有註明負責的部門)。我後來問過當時傳信部部長斐洛尼(Fernando Filoni)樞機:「是不是你拒絕了簽署?」他回答說:「沒有人要我簽名。」我又問信理部部長:「那份文件你有否過目?」他回答說:「現在一切與中國有關的事都由國務卿一手包辦。」

我以為那是一件很邪惡的文件。廿九日我立即搭飛機去了羅馬,卅日上午就送信去聖瑪爾大之家(Casa Santa Marta),要求教宗在四天內給我機會「在他面前」和那文件的作者,教廷國務卿帕羅林(Pietro Parolin)樞機切磋、切磋。







等了三個月,沒有教宗的訊息。九月尾我寄我的書《為了熙雍,我決不緘默》給各位樞機,也附上了一封信,請他們關注這事(九月廿七日寫的信2020年3月21日登在我的網誌上)。有幾位樞機回覆了我,祇含蓄地安慰我並答應為我祈禱。很遺憾的是2020年初,剛上任的樞機團團長雷若翰(Giovanni Battista Re)樞機竟向樞機們寫信批評我2019年九月尾的信。當然他肯定是在帕羅林樞機的催逼下寫了那信的,我立即回覆了他(三月一日),稍後(三月十日)也補充了一些分析(見我網誌)。



[1] 第一件事:教廷和中共簽了一份協議,關於任命主教的事,是秘密的






[2] 更嚴重的是第二件事:教廷將七位非法祝聖而被絕罰的主教合法化了


開放政策開始後,尤其在唐高(Cardinal Tomko)樞機任傳信部部長期內,很多非法祝聖的主教有機會向教廷承認自己的軟弱,申請「合法化」。經調查後,教廷追認了不少這樣的主教,主教和教友們都得到鼓勵和安慰。








[3] 第三件事:最殘忍的,是我前面所述,去年六月尾所發生的事













最後,讓我們還以先知亞毛斯的預言鼓勵我們自己(第九章):『在那一天我必樹起達味已坍塌的帳幕,修補它的缺口,重建它的廢墟:使它重建有如往日(光復香港)……在那一天……我必要轉變我民以色列的命運,他們必要重建已荒廢的城市,再住在其中;栽植葡萄園,飲其中的美酒……他們不會再從我賜與他們的地上被拔除(煲底見!)── 上主你的天主說。」』亞孟。