ROME — The Vatican is dragging its feet in the beatification of Chinese Catholic hero Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin-mei due to “diplomatic sensitivity,” according to a report from UCANews.
Cardinal Kung was the Catholic Bishop of Shanghai who was arrested by the communist regime in 1955 and thrown into jail for 30 years for refusing to renounce his loyalty to Rome. Revered as a hero of the Christian resistance by Chinese Catholics, Kung has served as an inspiration to all those who suffer persecution for their faith under Chinese communist rule.
March 12, 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of Kung’s death, who was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1979, while Kung was still serving a life sentence in prison.
“I felt that the whole Church could not but honor a man who has given witness by word and deed, through long suffering and trials, to what constitutes the essence of life in the Church: participation in the divine life through the apostolic faith and evangelical love,” John Paul said in 1991, while praising Kung for his steadfast communion with “the Church of Rome and the successor of Peter.”
According to UCANews, some church leaders think the Vatican now values its current agreement with China on the appointment of bishops more than the beatification of Cardinal Kung, and therefore the Church will avoid doing anything that could upset the Chinese government.
“Pushing for Cardinal Kung’s beatification is a waste of time, and the Vatican would not accept it,” said Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong. Cardinal Zen told UCA News that the Vatican is delaying the beatification process because it does not want to offend China,
“Cardinal Kung is a faithful representative of the Catholic Church. How can the Vatican ignore his cause of beatification following Chinese authorities?” Cardinal Zen asked.
Others agree with Cardinal Zen, including Father Zhu Lide, who was also imprisoned by the Chinese communists for 27 years and now lives in Taiwan.
“The Chinese government does not like Cardinal Kung, and therefore there is no public Mass for him,” Father Zhu said.
“Cardinal Kung is loved by the entire Church. At his time, there was only one Church, no underground or open church,” Zhu said. “All Catholics in China love him. His is a revered name for all Catholics but a prohibited one now in China.”