Saturday, December 21, 2019

Christmas Message from Cardinal of Hong Kong asks for an end to Violence and says "..read the Bible with devotion and pray to God zealously...by taking part actively in the Eucharist ..." Full Text


Asia News report: Card. Tong: For Christmas, no to violence, an independent investigation, support for democracy.
In his Christmas pastoral letter (full text below), the apostolic administrator of Hong Kong reiterates the need to rebuild mutual trust between government, police and population. The cardinal's questions very close to those of the anti-extradition and pro-democracy movement.

 Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - As Christmas approaches, Card. John Tong, apostolic administrator of the diocese, asks "everyone to stop the violence" that is shaking and dividing the territory of Hong Kong.

In his Christmas Message, he also asked that the government listen to the voice of the people and carry out "an independent investigation into several violent clashes between demonstrators and the police". Finally, he hopes that Hong Kong will always uphold "the basic values ​​of democracy, freedom and the rule of law", seeking to reduce the gulf between the rich and the poor ".

Card. Tong's Christmas message was published yesterday in the Sunday Examiner, the weekly diocesan newspaper, although the message bears the date of December 12th.

Just yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ended his visit to Macau, praising the former Portuguese colony while criticizing the situation in Hong Kong. In the recent past Xi praised the chief of executive Carrie Lam and the police's efforts to maintain order in the territory, censoring the request of a large part of the population for an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police.

Instead, Card. Tong, along with other Christian leaders, has long been calling for an independent investigation similar to the demands of the anti-extradition and pro-democracy movement for the past six months.

After an explanation of Christmas and the threefold coming of Christ (in Bethlehem, at the end of the world, in the life of the witnesses), the Letter urges the faithful to "read the Bible with devotion", to "take an active part in the Eucharist", to "lead a life of simplicity", living reconciliation and attention to the poor.

Recalling the social division and the suffering, which is also "emotional" and "pyscological" experienced by the population of Hong Kong, Card. Tong says: "With Christmas approaching, we earnestly make an appeal to all people to stop violence. We should give ourselves a cooling-off period for in-depth reflections on the impacts of our social turmoil and on the means to resolve the current impasse in a humane manner, with a view to restoring peace and healing people’s body, mind and spirit. "

"Once again - he adds - we urge the Sar (Special Administration Region) government to listen to the voice of the people and conduct an independent inquiry into several violent confrontations between the protesters and the police. Only when the truth is made known can the basis of mutual trust between the government and the people be re-established. It is then that we can pave the way for a dialogue of reconciliation”.

"We earnestly hope - concludes the message - earnestly hope that Hong Kong, our beloved city, will always uphold the core values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and that the gap between the rich and the poor will be narrowed as soon as possible, conflicts will be resolved, and justice and peace will prevail."
Full Text Source: Asia News IT - https://catholic.org.hk
Below is the Full Text Pastoral Christmas Message of Cardinal Tong:

On earth peace to those on whom his favour rests (Luke 2:14)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Every Christmas, I recall the teaching of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, an abbot of the Cistercian Order in the 12th century, that the coming of the Lord is threefold. The third coming occurs between the first and the second.
The first coming of Christ revealed that he was made flesh and dwelt among us in the world. He was crucified to redeem all of us from our sins.  His resurrection, however, opened for us the way to eternal salvation.
At the second coming of Christ, which will take place on Judgment Day at the end of the world, those who have done good will be rewarded with everlasting life, while those who have done evil and remain unrepentant will be condemned to eternal suffering.
The third coming of Christ is invisible. It refers to our Lord living in the world, graciously offering his Love to all people and inviting them to accept it, so that they may share his Life. We Christians for our part should bear witness to his Love by word and deed, so that we may contribute to the full realisation of the Kingdom of God.  
Recalling the First Coming of Christ, every Christmas brings us great joy, and we join the angels in praising God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). 
In order to experience the third coming of Christ more deeply in our daily life, let us remember to read the Bible with devotion and pray to God zealously. Let us enrich ourselves by taking part actively in the Eucharist and receiving Holy Communion. At the same time, let us lead a life of simplicity, reconciling ourselves with creation. With humility let us repent of our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, imploring our Heavenly Father “to forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). 
May our families and our young people , along with the Church, care for the poor and the needy more attentively.
Protests against the Extradition Bill, proposed by the SAR government last June as an amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, have led to a socio-political turmoil that has rocked Hong Kong over the past six months. The conflicting views of the government and the protesters, and those of other people, have torn our society apart, and many people have suffered from distressing traumas, psychologically or emotionally. With Christmas approaching, we earnestly make an appeal to all people to stop violence. We should give ourselves a cooling-off period for in-depth reflections on the impacts of our social turmoil and on the means to resolve the current impasse in a humane manner, with a view to restoring peace and healing people’s body, mind and spirit. 
Once again, we urge the SAR government to listen to the voice of the people and conduct an independent inquiry into several violent confrontations between the protesters and the police. Only when the truth is made known can the basis of mutual trust between the government and the people be re-established. It is then that we can pave the way for a dialogue of reconciliation.
We earnestly hope that Hong Kong, our beloved city, will always uphold the core values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and that the gap between the rich and the poor will be narrowed as soon as possible, conflicts will be resolved, and justice and peace will prevail.
May the Love and Peace of the Lord be with you at Christmas and throughout the coming year!
Source: http://www.examiner.org.hk/2019/12/20/christmas-pastoral-letter-2019/

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