Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – In the past few days, Card John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong, and the Catholic Church have been accused of "discrimination" by LGBT groups and representatives of Western governments in the territory for defending the institution of the family based on the union of a man and a woman, and for warning the faithful against any official recognition of gay unions as equal to the traditional family.
The war of words reached a crescendo yesterday afternoon when some 10,000 people from the Pink Alliance and other similar associations led the city’s Gay Pride parade, calling on the Government of Hong Kong to ban all " discrimination "against people based on their sexual orientation, including gay marriage.
The consuls of France, Britain, Germany, United States, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, as well as representatives of the European Union and the British Council attended Hong Kong’s Seventh Gay Pride.
For York Chow Yat-ngok, who heads Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission, “our religion taught us [. . .] not to discriminate [against] people”. Caroline Wilson, Britain's consul general, also talked about “discrimination”. The Pink Alliance ridiculed Cardinal John Tong Hon's suggestion that gay marriage would trigger “social disorder”.
All the criticism stems from a statement the bishop released last Thursday. In it, the cardinal urged the faithful to play an active role – as the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” – in promoting the notion of the family as a union between a man and a woman, and in staying vigilant against groups who, in the name of "rights" and against discrimination, want to bring before the Hong Kong legislative council plans to give gay marriage the same recognition as the traditional marriage, including the right to adopt children.
In his message, the cardinal also noted that a so-called Christian students’ organisation recently held a ‘Workshop on lovemaking techniques’ at one of Hong Kong’s universities with the participation of sex workers showing how to use sex toys and perform erotic massage.
In view of this, the bishop of Hong Kong called on Catholics to cast their ballot in upcoming District Council elections taking into account candidates’ views on gay rights.
Reactions to Card Tong’s stance has tended to juxtapose his position to that of Pope Francis and the recently concluded Synod, emphasising the need to end discrimination against homosexuals and to highlight the pope’s greater “openness”.
Mgr Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, said that the Church does not discriminate against homosexuals, but against their acts. Likewise, in his statement, the cardinal noted that the Synod on the Family reaffirmed the traditional notion of the family, as a union between a man and a woman.