Opinion & Analysis
Letter from Rome11:56 PM, October 2, 2017
Vatican City:Archbishop Savio Honís move to Greece is the beginning of top-level changes that Pope Francis will soon be making at the Vatican.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Bishop of Hong Kong and the most senior critic of Pope Francis’ policy of rapprochement with Communist China, has lost one of his foremost allies at the Vatican.
This past week the pope surprised many observers when he moved Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, the cardinal’s fellow Salesian and second-in-command at the powerful Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide), out of Rome and down to Athens where he will serve as papal nuncio to Greece.
The prelate, who will be 67 next month, has no prior diplomatic experience.
Savio Hon has been Zen’s eyes and ears in the Roman Curia since late 2010. That’s when Benedict XVI named the Hong Kong-born archbishop to the secretary’s post at Propaganda. He did so on the recommendation of Zen and another powerful Salesian — then Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Archbishop Hon was the highest-ranking official of Chinese origins in the Roman Curia. He enjoyed a high profile in the previous pontificate, which was more attuned to Cardinal Zen’s hard line on dealing with (or bluntly confronting) China’s Communist authorities.
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