A local court allowed the former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, SDB, to travel to Rome for the funeral mass of the late Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican.
According to AFP, a local court has granted permission to the 90-year-old cardinal to travel to Rome this week to attend Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's funeral.
His secretary said Cardinal Zen would attend the funeral Mass, led by Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Square on Thursday and return to Hong Kong on Saturday.
Cardinal Zen was elevated to cardinal by the late Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
“He appeared in court Tuesday to apply for a leave from the city,” the cardinal’s secretary said.
Authorities confiscated his passport after his controversial arrest on May 11, 2022. Still, a magistrate decided on January 3 to grant the cardinal permission to travel for five days outside of Hong Kong to attend the funeral of the late Pope Emeritus on January 5.
The cardinal was detained last year under the city's national security law in his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protestor to pay their legal fees.
The cardinal was released on bail from Chai Wan Police Station in Hong Kong in the late evening of May 11, 2022.
In November, he and five others were fined for failing to register the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which suspended operations in October 2021.
Zen has not yet been charged with offenses relating to national security, but he was charged with failing to register a defunct fund legally.
In a reflection posted on his blog on January 3, the cardinal praised the late Pope Emeritus as a “great defender of truth” and for his concerns for the church in China.
“As we remember the great pontiff, let us remember that we now have him as a powerful intercessor in heaven. With his intercession, we pray that all, the Church in Rome, the Church in China, and the Chinese authorities, will be moved by God’s grace to bring about true peace for the Church and our homeland,” Cardinal Zen said in the post.
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