Hong Kong bishop says patriotism is every citizen’s duty

patriotism is everyone’s duty

Hong Kong’s top Catholic cleric, Bishop Stephen Chow SJ, said patriotism is every citizen’s duty.

He dismissed concerns that his visit to Beijing could be interpreted as an attempt to politicise religion.

“Everyone would like to see their own country do well; no one wants it to do badly.

“I think it’s everyone’s duty to be patriotic if you’re a citizen in Hong Kong or mainland China,” Chow said when he met the press.

The five-day visit marked Hong Kong’s leading Catholic bishop’s first visit to the Chinese capital since the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.

The trip comes amidst renewed tensions between the Vatican and Beijing.

Bishop Chow led a Mass at St Joseph’s Church (aka Wangfujing Catholic Church) with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing and Vicar General Peter Choy Wai-man.

During the service, Chow emphasised the importance of loving both one’s country and the church.

Chow “extending the friendship”

Chow also revealed that he had invited his Beijing counterpart, Joseph Li Shan, to visit Hong Kong. Li heads the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a state-sponsored organisation. Chow said that Li had responded positively to the invitation.

Chow denied that his visit was an attempt to break the ice, noting that Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung had visited Beijing before the handover. Instead, he said that he was “extending the friendship.”

The bishop expressed his desire for more exchanges between churches in Hong Kong and mainland China. He added that he hoped for additional visits to Beijing. However, he stated that he could not confirm that such visits would occur regularly.

When questioned by reporters about concerns with regard to politicising religion, Chow said, “I’m not too worried. The most important thing is we do it out of our conscience, and we can see the holy God has invited us to do so.”

Chow also confirmed that he had not heard of any plans for the Vatican to move its Hong Kong office to Beijing.

Later, Bishop Chow met with parishioners at a cafe in Beijing before returning to Hong Kong.


South China Morning Post

AP News

CathNews New Zealand

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