Denver Newsroom, Jul 5, 2022 / 16:00 pm
A Catholic priest overseeing missionaries serving in Hong Kong reportedly told the missionaries that they should prepare for a much more difficult future, as the Chinese government tightens control over the exercise of religion in Hong Kong.
Archbishop Javier Herrera Corona is the outgoing head of the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong, a low-key presence on the island which represents the Vatican’s only outpost in China, and from which Vatican diplomacy observes the mainland. In 2016, the Pontifical Yearbook reported in a footnote the address and telephone number of the Study Mission for the first time, which also oversees more than 50 missionary societies in Hong Kong.
According to a report by Reuters, in four meetings held over several months starting in October 2021, Herrera Corona urged his colleagues to protect their missions’ property, files, and funds, according to four people familiar with the private sessions. Herrera Corona reportedly warned that closer integration with China in coming years could lead to mainland-style restrictions on religious groups, Reuters said.
Herrera Corona was head of the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong from January 2020, and in February 2022, Pope Francis named him apostolic nuncio to the Republic of the Congo and Gabon. The new head of the Holy See Study Mission has not yet been announced.