- May 17, 2021
Religious leaders in Hong Kong sent wishes for health and happiness to mark the Lunar New Year and acknowledged the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The social unrest and divisions in general Hong Kong society have carried over to the Catholic community, said Cardinal John Tong Hon, who encouraged Catholics instead to follow what Jesus taught in the beatitudes.
Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong asked priests not to resort to using “slanderous and offensive statements” in their sermons.
The arrest of prominent Catholic millionaire and media tycoon Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong along with two of his sons and two executives of his Next Media company under China’s new national security law has raised concerns that prominent Catholic leaders he has supported could be next.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong and a longtime critic of the Chinese Communist Party, has called a new national security law the end of democracy and said he does not envy the area’s current Church leaders, who he said will be walking a tightrope as Beijing exerts more control.
In a recent interview, Cardinal John Tong, former bishop and current administer of the Hong Kong diocese, has said he does not believe a new security law, which many fear will limit democracy in the territory, will pose a threat to religious freedom.
On Friday Cardinal John Tong Hon, administrator of the Hong Kong, announced that the city will return to public Masses in June – at the same time China is expected to pass a new national security law that has pro-democracy activists already taking to the streets.
Responding to a government appeal for citizens to stay home in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the administrator of the Hong Kong diocese has suspended public Masses until the end of the month, including the Ash Wednesday service marking the beginning of the Lenten season.