CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Cooperate with God and break the wall of indifference cardinal urges

HONG KONG (SE): On January 1, the World Day of Peace, John Cardinal Tong Hon urged people to be concerned with the various issues affecting the world and break the wall of indifference.

The bishop of Hong Kong concelebrated the Mass of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing and other priests of the diocese, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Caine Road. 

Greeting the 400-strong congregation at the start of the Mass, Cardinal Tong told them that the solemnity highlighted the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with God and brought Jesus Christ into the world and salvation to mankind. 

Noting that Pope Francis, in his message for the World Day of Peace, Overcome Indifference and Win Peace, said that indifference represented a menace to the human family and that there is a lack of love between people, the cardinal said the Church has to overcome indifference and hatred. He encouraged people to cooperate with God and fight for justice and peace.

Bishop Ha, who delivered the homily, said there were many issues that raised concerns last year such as terrorism, climate change, political instability in the Middle East and the refugee problem in Europe. 

Looking at the situation in Hong Kong, he recalled that different groups blamed each other after the proposed electoral reform bill was voted down in Legislative Council. He said the failed proposal showed that the policies of the Hong Kong government had failed to meet the expectations of the people and noted that its relationship with society—and even with the government in Beijing—seemed to be under heightened tension afterwards.

Bishop Ha urged people to nurture a culture of care, unity and mercy. Recalling the pope’s warning against indifference, he observed that people tend to read world news only for the sake of gathering information instead of actually caring out of mercy. 

In a world of indifference, Bishop Ha encouraged people to follow the example of the shepherds who, instead of ignoring the message of the angel or being bound by rules, looked for Jesus Christ in Bethlehem with hope.

The bishop said 2016 would see many matters come to the forefront, like the legislative elections, same-sex marriage and the legislation of standard working hours. He urged those present to show concern and speak up on the issues.

Turning to the consultation on a universal retirement protection scheme, Bishop Ha said, “Senior citizens have to be properly cared for. Why do some of them still need to make a living by collecting waste paper and cardboard even after they have made big contributions to society?”. 

He asked, “The government has huge fiscal reserves, why is it still so mean to the senior citizens?”

The collection from the Mass will be given to the Right of Abode University, started by Father Franco Mella, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, in 2002, to help in the education of torture claimants staying in Hong Kong. 

The school provides language courses and other programmes which are aimed at promoting cultural exchange and human rights.


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