Rome Newsroom, May 18, 2021 / 08:00 am
The newly appointed bishop of Hong Kong gave a press conference Tuesday in which he said he believed that prudence and dialogue were a way forward in the challenges facing his diocese.
Bishop-elect Stephen Chow Sau-yan, 周守仁, told journalists May 18 that he did not think it would be wise to comment on especially controversial issues, particularly on China, the day after his appointment.
“That would be rash,” he said. “But it is not because I am afraid, but, I think, I believe that prudence is also a virtue.”
During the 45-minute press conference, organized by the Diocese of Hong Kong, Chow spoke mostly in Cantonese, but he also responded to questions in English about religious freedom in Hong Kong at a time when it is being tested after the passage of national security laws.
“For me, religious freedom is a basic right,” Chow said, adding that he believed that Cardinal John Tong Hon, the diocese’s apostolic administrator since January 2019, had encouraged the government not to forget the importance of allowing the practice of all faiths.
With “Beijing, I believe that we must also start also with a sense of -- we don’t assume they are enemies … So how can we, through our faith, have some dialogue, can have some understanding together,” the bishop-elect said.
Chow’s episcopal consecration is scheduled for Dec. 4. Cardinal Tong, who retired as bishop of Hong Kong in 2017, will continue to serve as apostolic administrator in the interim.
Pope Francis appointed Chow, the current provincial of the Jesuits’ Chinese Province, to be the next bishop of Hong Kong on May 17.