Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cardinal hopes for better relations with the Mainland

John Cardinal Tong Hon

“I feel very unworthy of this position. But I am also grateful for the honour,” Bishop John Tong Hong told AsiaNews on the eve of his elevation to the rank of cardinal, which took place in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on February 18.
Cardinal Tong Hon with the delegation from Hong Kong,
after the Episcopal Ordination in Rome

“I have no reason to deserve this. It was a decision of the Holy Father, who wants to show his appreciation for the Church in China. It is a real encouragement for the Church of Hong Kong, which will continue its role as a bridge Church for the faithful of mainland China,” the cardinal-designate from Hong Kong said.

As the first Hong Kong-born cardinal in history, Bishop Tong expressed gratitude to the two living Chinese cardinals, 90-year-old Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-his, from Taiwan, and his predecessor as the bishop of Hong Kong, the 80-year-old Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun.

“We can benefit from an older person’s wisdom,” he said. “Cardinal Zen is still working hard and with determination. We respect his opinion and his wisdom.”
Chinese flags flutter in Vatican
On the issue of China-Vatican relationship, the Cardinal said that an area of deep concern is the continued detention of bishops, priests and some Catholic people on the mainland, and he is trying to address this by fostering a better rapport or relationship with the Chinese authorities. He said that he is especially concerned about the fate of two aged bishops, Bishop James Su Zhimin and Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang.
- Photos Courtesy: Kung Kao Po

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