11/05/2023, 13.04
ECCLESIA IN ASIA
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Card. Chow: bridge with Church in China is communion, Li Shan in Hong Kong Nov. 14

The Archbishop of Beijing expected in a few days to return Chow's visit to the Chinese capital in April. Words to the diocese from the new cardinal after his journey to Rome for the Consistory and Synod: "Even in Hong Kong we are divided: let us take a few steps to reach out to those who are far from us, both in the physical and digital worlds."

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The bridge built with mainland China is not a political strategy, but has its roots in the Trinitarian communion which is at the root of the Church. A way to "do everything to everyone" which is also the way to help Hong Kong overcome its wounds.

This is the message that the new cardinal Stephen Chow Sau-yan delivered yesterday to the Catholic community of Hong Kong during the solemn celebration with which the diocese officially welcomed him upon his return from Rome after the Consistory in which he received the purple and his participation in the Synod.

This comes a few days before a new important appointment in the path of the Church in China: on November 14th the archbishop of Beijing, Msgr. Giuseppe Li Shan (who is also president of the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics), will arrive in Hong Kong, responding to the invitation that Chow himself had extended in April during his first visit as bishop of Hong Kong to the Chinese capital.

Responding to questions from Hong Kong journalists regarding his role in relations between China and the Vatican, the cardinal commented that there is no hostility between the two sides but there may be misunderstandings and prejudices. “For this reason,” he said, “my role is to listen more and speak clearly.”

In the homily of the Eucharistic celebration the bishop commented on the Gospel passage of Jesus' encounter with the sinful woman (John 8.1-11). 

"As the Lord's people," Card. Chow - will we also be able not to reject some people at the door as cursed sinners? Will we give them respect? Everyone is equally loved by God, because we are all created in his love. Regardless of race, cultural background, gender, age, economic or educational background, one's religious or non-religious beliefs, political or other orientations, sexual minorities, good or sinful, our likes or dislikes."

To the Catholic community in Hong Kong, Card. Chow revived the image dear to Pope Francis of the Church as a "field hospital," to be "this bridge of love for the Lord and work for reconciliation and communion."

He continued : "My sisters and brothers, and friends, some asked me curiously what Pope Francis whispered in my ear after he had put on the cardinal ring and biretta for me. Well, it was not any juicy gossip but about the mission with China. Hong Kong has long played a significant bridging role of connecting the East and the West. The Catholic Church in Hong Kong was also entrusted with the role of a bridging Church since Pope John Paul II, especially in connecting the Church in Mainland China with the universal Church. For us Christians, connection is understood in the light of communion, based on the Holy Trinity and the Eucharist. We share one Love, one Life, and one Body."

But being a bridge," Card. Chow - is a mission that does not only apply to relations with the Church in mainland China. Commenting on the words of St. Paul 

"I have made myself all things to all people" (1 Cor. 9:21-23), the bishop recalled that even in Hong Kong "there are many individuals and groups who are painfully separated from others and their society. I dare say that we too would like to be better connected and fully become one." Hence the invitation to each person "to take a few steps to reach out to those who are far from us, both in the physical and digital worlds."

And to overcome internal tensions within the Church and society in Hong Kong, he pointed to the experience he had just had in Rome at the first session of the synod as a model: "We learned to connect with participants whose views, on some critical issues, were clearly different from ours. There were divergences, which we respected. But the divergences did not prevent us from recognizing convergences on which we could meet. Overall," Card. Chow -we learned to walk with one another for a better future, not only for the Church, but especially for our humanity and our common home."

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