Many of the island's Christians have been involved in the protests. Large groups of protestors have even adopted the hymn "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" as an unofficial anthem for the movement.
"Regrettably the 'Extradition Bill' dispute has now come to a violence and bloodshed stage," the diocese of Hong Kong said in a June 12 statement.
"Therefore, once more we make an urgent appeal, that the SAR Government and the general public exercise restraint and seek a solution to the current dilemma through peaceful, rational channels."
The Civil Human Rights Front, a political group that organized the protests, reported that nearly 2 million people had taken to the streets in the most recent protest, held June 16. Police said they counted 338,000 people along the original procession route.
Last week the organizers said a little over 1 million participated, while police put their estimate at 240,000.
As a special administrative region, Hong Kong has a large degree of autonomy from mainland China, with its own political and economic system. The territory was a British colony from 1842 until 1997.
There are some 581,000 Catholics in Hong Kong, or about eight percent of the population.
Hong Kong also has a separate legal system from the mainland. Britain ceded sovereignty of the island to China in 1997; the agreement giving Hong Kong special rights and freedoms under Chinese rule ends in 2047.