Hong Kong’s newly appointed Roman Catholic cardinal, Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow, expressed his hopes for reconciliation and bringing hope to the city’s young people following the economic downturn and the crackdown on pro-democracy movements.
Newsroom (10/07/2023 10:30, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis announced the selection of 21 new cardinals on Sunday, including Bishop Chow, who said he felt it was a new mission assigned to him by God through the pope.
The formal installation ceremony for Cardinal Chow will take place in September. He expressed his desire for more reconciliation in Hong Kong, emphasizing that it is something he hopes to achieve. The relationship between Beijing and the Vatican has been fraught with tensions over issues such as the appointment of bishops and the treatment of priests loyal to the pope.
Cardinal Chow, who will be the city’s fourth cardinal, is expected to play a significant role in guiding the Catholic community in Hong Kong, a geopolitical area of concern for the Vatican. In April, he made a historic trip to Beijing, becoming the first bishop from Hong Kong to visit the Chinese capital in nearly 30 years. During his visit, he extended an invitation to the state-appointed archbishop of Beijing to visit Hong Kong, a gesture aimed at strengthening the relationship between China and the Vatican.
While seen as a moderate figure in Hong Kong, Cardinal Chow had previously advocated for leniency towards arrested protesters involved in the 2019 anti-government movement. He expressed his hope for reconciliation and providing a future for those who have made mistakes, particularly the young people. The 2019 protests in Hong Kong were triggered by an extradition bill and resulted in widespread unrest and thousands of arrests. Many individuals are still uncertain about whether they will be charged in connection with the protests.
– Raju Hasmukh with files from AP