Vatican Appoints New Hong Kong Bishop after Two Years of Vacancy
05/17/2021 Hong Kong (International Christian Concern) – After delaying the Hong Kong Bishop appointment for more than two years, the Vatican has appointed a Jesuit priest to succeed Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, who passed away in January 2019.
In order not to upset Beijing’s communist regime, especially given the renewal of a 2018 Sino-Vatican deal over bishop appointment, the Holy See carefully selected Fr Stephen Chow Sau-yan to be the new bishop of Hong Kong, instead of two other controversial candidates: Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha and Fr Peter Choy. The former is known for his support of the pro-democracy movement since June 2019, while the latter too sympathetic to the Chinese communist government.
According to Asia News, the first reactions from the Hong Kong Catholics and the clergy are positive. The new bishop’s appointment is seen as a Solomonic and balanced choice by the Vatican between the two camps. Some also hope that Fr Chow can restore the divided Catholic Church over people’s attitude toward the tightening control of Hong Kong by Beijing.
“Reconciliation and unity are much needed in the Catholic Church in Hong Kong and unity is most important for the diocese at the moment,” a Catholic woman told UCA News, indicating the division among clergy and laity.
Another local Catholic who knows the new bishop said, “Father Chow is a good choice for the diocese. He has strong faith and strong leadership skills. His experience with education will boost the Catholics’ confidence in Catholic education.”
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