Hong Kong: Catholic leader hopes ties with the Vatican will not fall foul of legislation

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Published: Jun 24, 2020, 07:39 PM(IST)

Cardinal John Tong Hon Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The remarks are the clearest official stance offered so far by the church over the controversial legislation.

The leader of Hong Kong’s Catholics has said the city churches’ relations with the Vatican should not be deemed as “collusion with foreign forces” under the impending national security law.

Cardinal John Tong Hon, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, also said he appreciated the need for a national security legislation but hoped governments in the city and in mainland China could do more to ease people’s concerns.

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Tong hoped the operations of the church and the religious freedoms Hong Kong enjoys would remain intact after the implementation of the law, which targets secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces.

The cardinal’s comments were reported in the latest issue of the church’s Chinese-language weekly posted on its website on Wednesday. The remarks are the clearest official stance offered so far by the church over the controversial legislation.

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“The Catholic Church in Hong Kong has always maintained a subordinate relationship with the Vatican. Our links with the Vatican should be viewed as internal affairs. After the implementation of the national security law, it should not be viewed as collusion with foreign forces,” Tong was quoted as saying in the report.

“China and the Holy See have built up a friendly connection. What the church treasures are the spiritual and pastoral work.”

Beijing broke diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1951 and the Holy See recognises Taiwan, which the central government views as a breakaway province.

In recent years, signs emerged that Beijing’s relations with the Vatican have turned warmer. Under a deal signed in 2018, both sides now have a say in the appointment of bishops.

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