Cardinal Tong: Dialogue between Holy See and China Would Be 'Great Hope for the Future'

Archbishop of Hong Kong Applauds Proposal by Vatican Prelate

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2012 ( Cardinal John Tong, Archbishop of Hong King called a recent proposal to establish a commission that would open dialogue between the Holy See and mainland China “a great hope for the future.” The proposal was made by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

In an interview with Agenzia Fides, Cardinal Tong, who also served as President Delegate of the recent Synod of Bishops, expressed his hope that Chinese authorities would see this as a friendly gesture from the Holy See. Cardinal Filoni had made the proposal in a quarterly Catholic magazine linked to the Archdiocese of Hong Kong.

Cardinal Filoni cited examples of bilateral Commissions, such as the one between mainland China and Taiwan, that would facilitate a new form of dialogue between the two. “Dialogue is necessary because without it one cannot attempt to solve any of the problems still open, and through dialogue misunderstandings and misconceptions can fall,” Cardinal Tong told Agenzia Fides.

The Archbishop of Hong Kong regarded the illicit ordinations by the government sanctioned Church in China as major point of dialogue between the Holy See and China. “Our turmoil concerning these events arises from the fact that these ordinations hurt the Church in an essential point of her own nature. With dialogue one can make due to the fact that the Bishops are not officials of a political apparatus. Also to become priests one must have the appropriate doctrinal, moral, pastoral and human requirements. And this is even more true for the selection of Bishops,” he explained.

Cardinal Tong also noted Cardinal Filoni’s article highlighted the positive effects that religious freedom has in civil society. “There is a potential consonance between being a good Catholic and being a good citizen. Our old traditions based on Confucian thought push the individual to correct themselves to live in harmony and in respect towards one’s own family, society and the entire world,” he said.

“Now, the following of Jesus produces precisely these effects, freeing us from selfishness and materialism and leading us to love our neighbor. Even the government could recognize and appreciate this: if the Church is given to allow her faithful to grow in freedom, so that they can be really good Catholics, even society benefits.”

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