The Church in China

Of Adam Minter's Atlantic profile of Shanghai's Bishop Jin Luxian and his tightrope walk between Rome and Beijing, Richard John Neuhaus writes:

It is most regrettable that Minter thinks it necessary to take a slap at Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong, who is a man of enormous courage and a real hero in the cause of religious and other freedoms. Another China-watcher is concerned that Minter is uncritically admiring of Bishop Jin Luxian of Shanghai, who, while undoubtedly having paid a steep price for “keeping faith,” is viewed by many Chinese Catholics as having compromised himself by frequent cooperation with the regime’s repression of fellow believers.



Fr. Neuhaus is correct that the piece is quite favorable to Jin, but I'm not sure he's right to say that it takes a swipe at Cardinal Zen. Here's what I take to be the passage in question:

During one of our interviews, Jin contrasted himself with the outspoken Joseph Zen, who has become a well-known agitator against the CPA since taking over as archbishop of Hong Kong. “You cannot speak out as a bishop in a Communist country,” Jin says. “I can’t freely speak like Zen, because I must protect my diocese.” Withholding criticism of China’s religious authorities and their policies is perhaps the greatest compromise that the open-Church bishops choose to make.



I think you can take this quote as Jin expressing envy of Zen's ability to be outspoken (because of Hong Kong's peculiar position within China), or as Jin being defensive about the moral compromises he's chosen to make over the years - or, most likely, some combination thereof. But I don't think it's fair to call it "a slap."