In a letter to Beijing’s candidate, the bishop of Hong Kong promises a frank and honest relationship with the new government from "a friend who will give forthright admonition" to people in power.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – In his letter of congratulations to Chief Executive-elect Carrie lam, Card John Tong expressed hope that Hong Kong will “achieve the goal of universal suffrage” for its highest office. He also said that he hopes to see support for full religious freedom and pluralism, especially in education and in matters related to the family and marriage, as well as a frank and honest relationship between the Church and the government as "a friend who will give forthright admonition" to those in power.
Carrie Lam, a Catholic educated by Canossian Sisters in Hong Kong, has had a long career in government during which she has sided with the establishment (and mainland China). In fact, she was seen as Beijing’s candidate in the 26 February election. During the campaign she even proposed a Chinese-styled Religious Affairs Office in Hong Kong, a proposal that was later withdrawn following sharp criticism from civil society groups.
Here is cardinal’s letter to Carrie Lam Tong.
Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor
The Chief Executive-elect of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Dear Mrs Lam,
May the Lord’s peace and joy be with you.
Congratulations on winning the Chief Executive Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to you. Also, I was delighted that the other candidates have expressed their continuous care and participation for the Community of Hong Kong.
As the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, I would like to express the expectation of our Diocese for you and for your Government, as follows:
1. The Catholic Church, in following the social teachings of successive Popes, attaches great importance to the significance of democratic elections in dealing with political matters. The Diocese has observed that the base of voters of the current Chief Executive Election is far from being able to achieve a degree of universal participation, given the limitations incurred by historical reasons. However, I hope that in your term, you can promote the democratic process in Hong Kong in order that the Special Administrative Region will eventually achieve the goal of universal suffrage.
2. Our Diocese is committed to serving the needy in society, with particular emphasis on the principle of “preferential option for the poor”. So far, we have always been willing to collaborate with the Hong Kong Government to maintain a positive and fruitful partnership, for the goodwill of the people of Hong Kong. Also, when called upon to be critical of certain social policies, we will continue to be “a friend who will give forthright admonition” to the local Government.
3. In upholding the Catholic Social Teaching, our Diocese has been paying heed to communication with the various sectors of the Community, with a hope to continue to develop an effective dialogue with the new HKSAR Government. We also hope that the new Government can encourage a free airing of views, listen to voices from all sides, and promote the unity and progress of our society.
4. Our Diocese hopes that the new HKSAR Government, as has been the case in the past, will continue to protect the local people’s freedom of religious belief, freedom of expression and a pluralism in running schools, as well as respect the Church’s marriage and family values.
Once again, may we extend our hearty congratulations to you. May God bless you, your family, friends and co-workers!
＋ John Cardinal Tong
28th March 2017