Cardinal critic reveals drama in Vatican's overture to China

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Cardinal critic reveals drama in Vatican's overture to China
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 6, 2013 file photo, Cardinal Joseph Zen prays in St. Peter's Basilica during a vespers celebration at the Vatican. Hong Kong’s retired cardinal has revealed the behind-the-scenes drama of the Vatican's efforts to improve relations with China, including its request for a legitimate bishop to resign in favor of an excommunicated one who is recognized by Beijing. Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vocal opponent of Pope Francis' opening to China, bitterly criticized the changing of the guard in Shantou diocese and said in a Facebook post Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 that he traveled to the Vatican Jan. 10 to personally discuss it with the pope. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, file)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Hong Kong’s retired cardinal has revealed the behind-the-scenes drama of the Vatican’s efforts to improve relations with China, including its request for a legitimate bishop to resign in favor of an excommunicated one who is recognized by Beijing.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vocal opponent of Pope Francis’ opening to China, bitterly criticized the changing of the guard in Shantou diocese and said in a Facebook post Monday that he traveled to the Vatican Jan. 10 to personally discuss it with the pope.

He confirmed reports by the AsiaNews agency that the Vatican had asked 88-year-old Shantou Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian to resign in favor of Bishop Joseph Huang Bingzhang. Huang was excommunicated by the Vatican in 2011 after he was consecrated without papal consent.

The Vatican declined to comment.