HONG KONG (SE): Around 100 people from the legal profession gathered for a prayer service at the opening of the Legal Year 2019 on January 14 at St. John’s Cathedral, Central, at which they prayed for justice and the rule of law.
The service, organised by Thomas More Society as well as other legal practitioners’ groups, was officiated by Archbishop Paul Kwong of the Anglican Church and John Cardinal Tong Hon, apostolic administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.
Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal and Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal, proclaimed the readings, while choirs of Good Hope School and the St. John’s Cathedral sang hymns.
Archbishop Kwong said at the start of the prayer service that they had gathered to pray for the rule of law which means justice be meted out and the innocent protected.
He then invited those present to pray to the Lord, our judge, and ask for his forgiveness by humbly admitting their sins.
Anglican Father Franklin Lee, the chaplain of St. John’s Cathedral, said in his homily that there is a similarity between the law and religion. They both offer ways for people to make right choices and solve everyday problems and establish a framework for making ethical decisions, which is often ignored in people’s daily lives.
Father Lee said that, from a Christian point of view, the rule of law is a gift from God as it helps people to build a better world and reach their dreams. He expressed his hope that the opening ceremony of the Legal Year would remind people to allow the rule of law expedite the development of humanity and public welfare.
Cardinal Tong led prayers for the Hong Kong government, the judiciary, law enforcement bodies, imprisoned people and their families, as well as underprivileged groups.
Thomas Wong Wai-kit, a barrister who helped to organise the ceremony, told the Kung Kao Po that the rule of law in Hong Kong has faced some challenges in recent years. However, he believes the foundation of an independent judiciary, as well as the rule of law is still unshaken.
He hoped the ceremony would remind people to pray for rule of law in Hong Kong.
Speaking of the appointment of judges, Wong hoped that the candidates would be chosen on the basis of their professional knowledge and reputation rather than their political views.
Another barrister, Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, said the most important spirit of the rule of law is to respect the rights of each citizen, so law enforcement bodies should have a humble heart when exercising their authority and respect people’s rights.
“They should not abuse their powers or have an exaggerated sense of self-importance,” she said.