Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - In his Christmas message to the Diocese of Hong Kong, Card. John Tong has reiterated the request of the Catholic Church for universal suffrage for the territory in electing the chief executive and parliament. At the same time, he has stressed the importance of policies that help families in dealing with the economic and cultural crisis. The cardinal asks for greater support for housing, education and pensions and reiterates the importance of understanding the family as a unit of a man and woman, "directed toward the procreation and raising of children."
In his message, published in today's edition of the
diocesan newspaper, Card. Tong
also speaks of his experience as a year as Cardinal, after his appointment on
January 6, 2012.
The Bishop of Hong Kong, remembers with joy the vibrancy of local communities, which this year received 3,500 new members who were baptized at Easter.
With discrete courage, the cardinal said he had conferred twice with the Government of Hong Kong, in February and September, presenting the requests of the diocese. "Besides calling for an implementation of universal suffrage in the election of the Chief Executive and of the legislature - the statement reads - we urged the authorities to improve current policies on housing, health care, education and retirement security ".
Neither Britain at the time
of the colony, nor China after 1997 have ever guaranteed the people of Hong
Kong the opportunity to directly elect their leaders and parliamentarians. Even
today, the chief executive is chosen by an ad hoc committee, and only half of
the Parliament is elected by popular ballot. China has long ruled out universal
suffrage for Hong Kong at least postponing it until after 2017.
In his talks with the government, the Cardinal points out that he also spoke of "stable marriage and harmonious family life are prerequisites to safeguarding the well-being of society".
Recalling the Catechism of
the Catholic Church, the Cardinal reaffirms that the family is composed of a
"mutual self-giving and lifelong commitment between a man and a woman". "While
marriage is intended for the benefit of husband and wife, it is also directed
towards the procreation and upbringing of children "
The cardinal's underscoring this is urgent because Hong Kong is suffering from a strong demographic crisis. At the same time, in recent weeks some groups have started to push the government for legislation to recognize gay marriage.
(with the collaboration of Eugenia Zhang)