“Too many things” are politicized in Hong Kong, the prelate explains. The exclusion of auxiliary Msgr. He “suggests” that he is among the candidates for office. Thanks to the choice of Msgr. Tong the diocese will continue its work.

01/09/2019, 11.40

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The defiant Card. Joseph Zen, who has often criticized the Vatican for its overly servile policy towards China, has defended the Holy See in its choice in naming Card. John Tong as apostolic administrator of the diocese after the death of Msgr. Michael Yeung.

Many Catholics and many people of the territory have accused the Vatican of once again making a “pro-Beijing” choice by designating Card. Tong, in place of auxiliary bishop Joseph Ha, known for his pro-democracy sympathies and religious freedom in China.

Card. Tong is known to be a supporter of the Sino-Vatican agreement and his appointment as apostolic administrator of the diocese has been criticized by young Catholics, politicians, intellectuals and teachers. For many, the appointment of Card. Tong is “a way for the Vatican to take time” and to ensure that in this period of transition “there will be no difficulties in relations with Beijing”.

AsiaNews sources in Hong Kong have explained instead that the choice of the Vatican – although not usual – has merit because it allows the diocese to continue to work at full speed, pending the appointment of the new bishop.

Moreover, a  “neutral” apostolic administrator, someone who is not among the possible candidates to the ordinary episcopate of Hong Kong, is needed because he is the one who must announce the new bishop. From this point of view, excluding Msgr. Ha from this position assumes that he is among the candidates for the future office.

Also yesterday Card. Zen defended the choice of the Vatican, publishing a statement in which he explains that the Pope has the power to choose who he wants as apostolic administrator. He also stressed that the choice of Card. Tong, who left the post of bishop of the diocese a little more than a year ago, will allow the Church in Hong Kong to immediately have a competent person. Furthermore, if Msgr. Ha were chosen – whom Card. Zen believes could possibly become ordinary – it risked putting him in a situation of embarrassment when announcing the new bishop.

All things considered, the Cardinal concludes, too many things in Hong Kong “are politicized”.

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