Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What is it about moral authority that frightens autocrats, tyrants, or just plain dictators?  Perhaps because the others have no moral authority and they know it. This week the Chinese government will put 90-year old retired bishop of the Hong Kong Diocese, Cardinal Joseph Zen on trial for his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, established to provide legal, medical and financial assistance to protestors against the Chinese destruction of Hong Kong’s freedoms.


Cardinal Zen has criticized the Vatican’s agreement to permit the Party to nominate bishops rather than the church.  He has spoken out against the idea that the Chinese idea of hierarchy and total control of the people is how China should be governed.


By speaking out for human rights, Cardinal Zen is a challenge to the Chinese autocratic state, and the state will try to silence him.  He makes it clear that the ultimate authority is God just as the early Christians did in the Roman Empire. The only difference between Xi Jinping and Nero is that the lions are not in the arena.


Prayer for the Day


Eternal One, who hears our words but also knows our hearts and minds,
   Keep your Model before our eyes, moving us beyond our limited vision;
Help us recognize what is really important in this, your world,  
   Giving us the courage to live beyond our immediate needs.
May we feel your grace and power in what you call us to do,
    Creating a world of justice and peace for all.
In the name of the One who transforms our lives,
    Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.


Thoughts for the Day


Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.
     - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)


Autocratic power requires the degradation of moral authority – not the capture of moral high ground.
     - Masha Gessen, American political and social writer


For God will hide me in a shelter on the day of trouble;
   And conceal me under the cover of God’s tent; God will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me,
   And I will offer in God’s tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
     I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
    Psalm 27: 5-6