The ad limina visit of the two territories has not been held for 10 years. Yesterday bishops met with Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin. The need to continue dialogue with China, despite issues about which "we do not agree". Praying for the Pope, the Church in China and "for all those who have sacrificed their lives for their faith". The impatience of young people, frustrated by the lack of perspectives and freedom.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - This morning, Pope Francis met the bishops of Hong Kong and Macao, in Rome for their ad limina visit. The group includes Msgr. Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, Ordinary Bishop of Hong Kong; Msgr. Joseph Ha Chi-shing, OFM, auxiliary bishop of the territory; Msgr. Stephen Lee Bun-sang, bishop of Macao.
The previous ad limina visit by the pastors of the two Chinese territories took place 10 years ago, with Card. Joseph Zen for Hong Kong and Msgr. José Lai for Macao. Another ad limina visit (held every five years) scheduled for 2013, could not be carried out due to difficulties with the agenda, after the resignation of Benedict XVI and the advent of Pope Francis. Yesterday the bishops also met the Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin. They discussed the ongoing dialogue with the Chinese government both with Cardinal Parolin and the Pope. AsiaNews spoke to Msgr. Yeung following the meeting with the Pope.
Patience with China
"On China, the Vatican position is clear," explains the bishop of Hong Kong. "The Vatican does not want to irritate anyone; it does not want to make any wrong moves [for the Church], but at the same time it must do something for the good of the Church and of Chinese society ".
Taking a cue from the commercial dialogue (and the war) between the United States and China, he adds: "For the religious question, it is a bit like in commercial matters. The United States and China go on agreeing on somethings, disagreeing on other things, but they continue to talk. It's the same for us too: we need to keep talking. Diplomatic relations are not established overnight. Those between the Vatican and the US, or between the Vatican and Great Britain have required almost 200 years ... We all have to be patient. China has 5,000 years of history and dialogue with it takes time. There are things we agree on, and things we disagree on."
"The pope - he concludes - asked us to pray. We want to pray for him, for the Church in China, and for all those who have sacrificed their lives for the faith in China, so that we too can be ready to sacrifice our lives for the Gospel ".
The impatience of young people
Another theme that is dear to Msgr. Yeung is that of the young. He points out that many of them in Hong Kong are penalized regarding employment and housing that is too expensive, thus preventing them from forming families, or if they get married, they are forced to live in very small houses with their parents and even grandparents. Msgr. Yeung appreciates the young people who participated in the Occupy Central demonstrations, the democracy sit-in that lasted over two months. At the same time he adds: "Our young people are victims of economic development, they are very frustrated because they demand more justice and more freedom. Yet they are impatient, they seek immediate gratification. But you cannot plant a tree in the morning and catch the fruits in the evening. It is urgent to reach out and be close to young people to help them discern, to help them in their daily lives so that they understand and live the call of Jesus. It is necessary to help them to mature in a spirit that gives them the strength to go forward ".
Msgr. Yeung, 73, asked the Pope to be able to resign from the Episcopal office soon, to dedicate himself to the commitment of Caritas Hong Kong. "The Pope - he says - was very sweet and understanding".
(In the picture: Msgr Yeung, in the center, together with Msgr Stephen Lee)