CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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An ecumenical accord in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Catholic diocese and Lutheran Church in Hong Kong jointly endorsed a common Chinese translation of From Conflict to Communion, an ecumenical document marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The document was signed during a prayer gathering at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on July 14.
The ceremony was presided over by the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, and the coadjutor of the diocese, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, on behalf of the Catholic diocese.
They were joined by Bishop Cheung Chun-wa and Vice Bishop Fang Sing-tin representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The two-hour ceremony was attended by several hundred people representing a variety of Christian denominations. The gathering recited the Apostle’s Creed as a sign of unity, but using translations particular to individual denominations, which reflected a unity still in the making.
From Conflict to Communion is the result of a study done by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity with the specific purpose of reflecting on various aspects of the Reformation and 50 years of the official worldwide ecumenical dialogue.
It was officially published in 2013.
This is the second translation project undertaken between the two local Chinese Churches and follows the ecumenical declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which was completed in 2014.
A joint working team began the translation of the From Conflict to Communion in 2016. The common, agreed upon translation offers two Chinese versions, which maintain the theological terminology and biblical names particular to the two Churches, in one book.
Theresa Lumo Kung, the external secretary of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, said that three out of seven people on the working team have been involved in the vetting of the Chinese translation.
“Since both sides have already established a consensus and communion, the work moved forward smoothly,” Kung explained. “We were frank and open in discussing differences in certain parts of the book to reach a consensus,” she added.
One such major difference arises in the translation of the word God into Chinese, for which the Catholic Church uses Tian Zhu, while the Lutheran Church uses Shang Di.
She explained that with the exception of direct quotations from the bible, the working team reached a consensus in using Shang Zhu for God, as the term appears in the in the Catholic translation of the Old Testament.
The epilogue of the publication notes that working on the principle of “seeing common ground while reserving differences,” the team did not try to unify names of biblical figures or theological jargon used by the respective Churches.

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