That isn't something you hear a cardinal say everyday, and especially not in reference to diplomacy with China. But Joseph Zen isn't your quotidian holy man. The Shanghai-born former bishop of Hong Kong is Pope Benedict XVI's closest counselor on Beijing. And he's mounting a very public campaign to warn of the dangers of appeasing the Middle Kingdom.It's a timely monition, and not just for Catholics. Beginning in February, Chinese authorities have jailed or "disappeared" everyone from artists to lawyers to bloggers, fearing that the Middle Eastern democracy protests might inspire ordinary Chinese. Vatican political leaders are publicly mulling what all this means for their relationship with Beijing.
China is co-opting Catholic priests, creating a state religion.
And then they will try to destroy it.
Pope John Paul II understood the ugly face of communism and was strong in asserting the church's independence.
I still remember the shrines along the road in Poland enduring and giving faith even under a dictatorship. It's true, I think, that the Solidarnosc movement was fortified by their Catholicism with its appreciation of the dignity of each individual.
The ruling men of China are old tyrants. Don't let the Catholic Church be viewed the same way.