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Temple of the 
Holy Spirit

How should we live? This is one of the fundamental questions of life and, in all cultures, people have grappled with it. History holds many guides to help us.

St. Paul was faced with the same problem when writing to the Christians in Corinth. They lived in a difficult situation: Corinth was a famous port.

It has the usual roughhouse of an international port today and Christians had to live in it as a tiny minority. So the question, “How should we live?” faced them every day.

Hong Kong is an international port city, with no single accepted set of ethical values, but Christian ethics, Confucian ethics and Buddhist ethics exist alongside the crudest standards of self-interest, use and abuse of others.

As Catholics, we are a minority in Hong Kong. However, we also have a special opportunity to take part in the search for a global ethic, the search for common shared values, by which we can answer the question, “How should we live?” We have a rich ethical teaching to share with our neighbours.

For example, Hong Kong has a thriving prostitution industry. The exploitation of the human person, the human body, still goes on. It is a city of second households, often over the border in China.

Poverty and the imbalance in income, mean that it is possible for to establish a second household. It is a different kind of exploitation, and it still goes on.

However, criticising is not constructive as the reasons are complex. But the sex industry is now globalised and controlled by the most abusive of criminal elements. Constructive responses are needed and these are difficult to come at.

Nonetheless, they are necessary. We need to bring to these problems our best knowledge of policing, our best international cooperation and our best moral discernment.

The moral teaching of the Catholic Church teaches respect for the human person and the human body. We know that the whole person, including sexuality, is a gift from God. We understand ourselves–—and indeed all people—to be temples of the Holy Spirit.

We know that other people are not objects to be used for our benefit. People are people and we are called to love our neighbour, not use them. Indeed, each of us is uniquely valuable and worthwhile in the sight of God, and we are too valuable to allow ourselves to be used by others. This is really good news for any city and for any individual.

Just as in Corinth, Christians are only a small minority in Hong Kong. However, we now have a greater voice than those early Christians. So, besides personally choosing to live an ethically rich life, we can also gently influence the society around us to see the value in every person, in every life.

To do this involves us in a dialogue with other ethical systems. We need to talk to Confucians and Taoists and Buddhists and non-believers alike, looking for the best shared values and finding our way to build a community in which our bodies, our sexuality, indeed our whole person, are fully respected as God’s gift.                            RO’B