'Hope in the desert', Catholics at the pro-Hong Kong event
The reflection of Fr. Carlos Cheung, a Salesian, at the prayer meeting before the big demonstration in Victoria Park. A heavy judgment against the government: people "are abused by the government, falsely arrested by the police, unfairly prosecuted by the Justice Department, threatened with white terror". The memory of Tiananmen and the appeal for moderation.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / SE) - Several hundred Catholics also took part in yesterday's big demonstration at Victoria Park, which brought together more than 1.7 million people. Before the big gathering, they participated in a prayer meeting where, after some biblical readings and songs, Fr. Carlos Cheung, Salesian from Hong Kong spoke. Here is what he said.
As we are reminded by today's scripture, [Deut. 1, 29-31] God is always with us, and we go to the promised land embracing the hope granted by God. No matter how difficult things seem to be, we do not easily give up.
We must remember that we are not looking for short-sighted victories in this campaign. This is a long-term battle. Even though the government does not pay any heed to our demands at the moment, we have to fight continuously in our parish, in our community, among our friends and among our family members, all of which should be considered the genuine battlefields in the long run. Every single one of us has a responsibility in this - to awaken the people around us.
We have been exposed to endless bleeding for more than two months. Protestors have been violently treated and arrested. Starting from June, the police have used excessive force and violence in suppressing the people, breaching safety codes, violating International human rights standards. On 21st July, the police even allowed the indiscriminate attack on citizens by gangsters. Not only were ordinary citizens, residents and even passers-by attacked by tear-gas bombs, they were also arrested without sound reasons. The government helps cover up the blatant acts of the police and takes the lead in spreading fake news and misinforming the public. Now, the government even goes to great lengths to defame its opponents and spread political propaganda. Worse still, the government has even got used to telling shameless lies in press conferences in an attempt to brainwash the innocent citizens. Are we willing to be manipulated by a government which is making these ugly political moves in the name of justice? Do we have no feeling in all these at all? Dear sisters and brothers, where is our conscience? Where is our ethical sense? How should the church provide guidance in making an ethical judgment in this? Today, this is not simply a matter of different political stances. This is about people being abused by the government, people being falsely arrested by the police, people being unfairly prosecuted by the Department of Justice, people being threatened with white terror. As Christians who are well familiar with words of justice, do we choose to remain silent when the world needs us to speak up?
Apart from prayer, we need to tell the government that it is completely wrong to insist on such an approach. The LORD created us in dignity and freedom. As we can see in the Old Testament, Mordecai, the adopting father of Esther, prayed to the LORD with these words - "(b) Lord, Lord, Almighty King, everything is subject to your power, and there is no one who can withstand you in your determination to save Israel ... (d) You know all things, you, Lord, know that neither pride, self-esteem nor vainglory prompted me to do what I have done: to refuse to prostrate myself before proud Haman. ... (e) But what I have done, I have done, rather than place the glory of a man above the glory of God; and I shall not prostrate myself to anyone except, Lord, to you, and, in so doing, I shall not be acting in pride." - What we are defending so persistently is human dignity - the dignity of being sons and daughters of God! Let us pray to God in the words of Esther - "(l) My Lord, our King, the Only One, come to my help, for I am alone and have no helper but you ..."
We should stop all sufferings caused by the unreasonable ruling and oppression of the authority. Today, we still have to protect our young people, protect our Hong Kong, protect Jesus from any unjust trials, so that he would not be brutally mistreated and falsely accused again.
Young people were massacred in Tiananmen Square on June the Fourth, 1989. The same may happen again in Hong Kong. Therefore, we must show restraint. We should not sacrifice ourselves aimlessly for this evil regime. In this campaign against the authority, we, as members of Hong Kong, do not see real violence initiated by our youngsters. In contrast, the violence of the police is obvious. Two million people took to the street to demand the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill, but the central government simply turned a deaf ear to the cries of the people and the youngsters. And if it is the central government who chose to ignore our voice, why should we blame our younger fellows?
May God bless us, our youngsters and Hong Kong. This is not a battle of preservation. This is a battle of ethics. With peace, wisdom and agility, let us awaken everyone, let us awaken the Church and the people of the Kingdom of God. Let us come out - proud, hopeful and fearless.