07/07/2020 Hong Kong (International Christian Concern) – In the latest Angelus address given by Pope Francis on July 5, he intentionally dropped a pre-written paragraph in reference to Hong Kong’s new national security law, which has drawn much international criticism.
According to Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, who reported the incident on his blog, shortly before the papal audience, journalists were advised that the Pope would not deliver remarks in reference to the situation in Hong Kong. No explanation was given by the Vatican for the last-minute change.
The text distributed to the journalists beforehand stated the Pope’s concern about recent developments in Hong Kong, saying,
“I hope therefore that all the people involved will know how to face the various problems with a spirit of far-sighted wisdom and authentic dialogue. This requires courage, humility, non-violence, and respect for the dignity and rights of all. I thus express the desire that societal freedom, and especially religious freedom, be expressed in full and true liberty, as indeed various international documents provide for it.”
Tosatti said he suspected the Pope’s decision was due to political pressure from the Chinese government.
According to CatholicCulture.org, Vatican officials are reportedly anxious to renew a secret deal with Beijing, governing the appointment of new bishops in China. The agreement— which has been strongly criticized by Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Bishop of Hong Kong— is due to expire in September of this year.
As a result, the Holy See has been cautious in order to maintain the cordial relations with Beijing, and has avoided public expressions of concern about threats to religious liberty— both in Hong Kong and on the mainland. Many fear that the Vatican’s weak stance toward China will be at the expense of religious liberty of Chinese, and now Hong Kong Catholics.
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