Hong Kong’s new Catholic bishop hopes to promote healing

The new head of Hong Kong The Catholic diocese expressed hope Saturday that he can promote healing in a congregation and a city divided by the continuing disaster from massive anti-government protests in 2019.

Bishop Stephen Chow speaks to people after his ordination at the 19th-century Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Participants wore surgical masks to protect against COVID-19.

“I understand well that it has not been easy given the painful damage that different parties have experienced in their own way over the past two years,” he said.

He asked if the pandemic, while devastating, was also a boon, as some Hong Kongers sought to help each other, regardless of political or religious persuasion.

“As bishop of the Catholic diocese of Hong Kong and as a local church, (I) would love to play a meaningful role in promoting healing and connection within our church. and for our homeland, this dear homeland,” he said.

The protests, quelled by arrests and tough new national security laws, have divided the city and its 400,000 Catholics, about 5.3% of the population. Some support the government’s restoration of order, while others say the government has excessively reduced freedom of speech and the right to protest in the semi-autonomous region. Chinese people city.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam whose tenure survived the protests, is Roman Catholic

Pope Francis appointed Chow as a new bishop in May to replace Bishop Michael Yeong, who died in January 2019.

Chow, seen as a moderate choice, called for respect for different views, saying “unity is not the same as uniformity” at a news conference after he was named.

A native of Hong Kong, Chow was educated in the US and Irish He was appointed Jesuit head for the China region in 2018, the year of a landmark agreement that gave the Chinese government a say in the appointment of bishops on the mainland.

Mainland Catholics are only legally allowed to worship in churches approved by the Chinese government, but many attend underground churches led by bishops loyal to Rome. Critics say the Vatican sold off the underground Chinese church by signing the 2018 deal. Hong Kong’s new Catholic bishop hopes to promote healing


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