12/24/2011, 00.00
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In the spirit of Christmas, Mgr Tong calls for more housing, less selfishness

by Annie Lam
Hong Kong’s Catholic bishop calls on the government and the rich business community to solve the city’s acute housing problem. Yueyue, the two-year-old toddler left to die after she was hit by two vehicles, is remembered. Anglican bishop calls for a return to core values against widespread “individualism”.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – We must implement the spirit of Christmas and “get rid of our selfishness” by meeting the housing needs of the people of Hong Kong, said Mgr John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong. In his Christmas message released on Friday, the prelate called on local government and the business sector to solve Hong Kong’s pressing housing problems.

“The Lord Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for his parents in the inn. Nowadays, many people in Hong Kong are having great difficulty in finding a place to live,” Bishop Tong said.

He especially pleaded with the local government, the rich and the business sectors to help solve this “urgent problem as housing” in Hong Kong. Housing is “a basic need and right of every family,” he noted.

“Christmas is the time of caring. If we implement the spirit of Christmas throughout the year, I am sure we will be doing our part to make our world better and more humane,” he said.

Remembering a two-year-old girl who was recently run over by two vehicles in mainland China, he noted that 2 drivers and 18 pedestrians failed to stop. Eventually, a woman carried her to a hospital, but unfortunately, she died a few days later (see "Yueyue, the two year old hit by two trucks and left to suffer, dies,” in AsiaNews, 21 October 2011). “This case is a warning call for us to get rid of our selfishness and be more concerned for those in need,” he said.

To the faithful of his diocese, Bishop Tong announced that the Year of the Laity would be extended by one more year.

In his message, the prelate told local Catholics to emphasise the Christian initiation of adults with an appropriate period of catechumenate. Similarly, he urged them to promote family values, give witness to the Gospel and be good citizens, as Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 letter to the Catholic Church in China said. As part of this, the message encourages Catholics to achieve the three goals of the Year of the Laity, i.e. make ourselves holy, sanctify others and transform the world.

In his strongly worded Christmas message, also released on Friday, Anglican Archbishop Paul Kwong said that local core values have been taken away by selfishness and the pursuit of money, which he described as the “pervasiveness of individualism” in this affluent city.

Mentioning the measures taken after a big fire in late November killed nine people and injured dozens more, he noted that people have become "cold-hearted", placing making a living before protecting lives.
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