• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 11:44pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 4:35am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 7:47am

Catholic Cardinal John Tong Hon has more tolerant tone towards gays now

Last year, Cardinal John Tong Hon used his Christmas message to denounce gay marriages, saying a real union could only be between a man and a woman.

That sparked a fierce reaction from gay rights groups. Yesterday, the good cardinal went back to reaffirming family values in his festive missive without explicitly saying what type of unit it should be or the sexual orientations of those in a union. What a difference a year makes!

That's because he has a new boss now in Rome and the new pope is not nearly as anti-gay as his predecessor. In fact, he is starting to sound rather tolerant.

Tong's previous message no doubt pleased his old boss Pope Benedict, who had described homosexuality as "an intrinsic moral evil" and "an objective disorder".

But Pope Francis made a splash this summer in the world media and sent shockwaves through the worldwide Catholic community when he said in Italian: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" He spoke the word gay in English.

For this, the US-based gay magazine The Advocate has named him Person of the Year.

Now this is not to say the pope and our cardinal are anywhere close to accepting gay marriages. For all his liberal, politically correct statements, the pope has sounded a change in tone rather than in doctrinal substance.

But this change in tone is nevertheless substantial. For one, it is discouraging senior priests like Tong from denouncing gay marriages too overtly.

Homosexuality has been a taboo topic in the Vatican for generations and priests could only openly discuss the subject by denouncing it. That has opened the church to charges of hypocrisy. Pope Francis has made a giant leap into the 21st century.

And if the boss takes a more tolerant attitude, it's only a matter of time before the flock will follow.

Any doctrinal change for an inherently ancient and conservative institution like the Vatican is difficult.

The best that can be hoped for is that the new pope, through persistence, will prepare the groundwork for eventual and complete acceptance of believers who have different sexual orientations.


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This article is now closed to comments

Now come to the crucial issue for which may seen as an infringement on religious believe of our public leaders even to write about it. I did that recently once on Donald Tsang and caused not so tame responses from a reader.
Not so being anti-catholic, more the contrary. I believe Catholicism teaching is wholesome, at least at the laymen level. What I can’t reconcile is to see Donald Tsang a self-proclaimed fervent Catholic who claimed to attend mass daily could be of seemingly had held such low standard of official behavior while he was the CE. Now I would add Abraham Razack on the list whom in my mind I can’t reconcile of being a Catholic and holding office of public interest. His earlier career as the leader of the Urban Development Corporation and now a legislator representing the Real Estate sector, I can’t say his accomplishment has had any of the goodness imprints of being a Catholic as he claimed.
My conclusion is that these two public figures that their priests have never instructed them with order. The influence by preaching evidently had fallen on ears not toned to listen to preaching. Their priests made a mistake. They should have acted like a Pope and ordered them to do good for Hong Kong as a whole.
Should be 'people's private sexual preferences'. We don't know whether or not it is a 'tiny minority' because probably many people don't own up because of the stigma and marginalization that brings. I wonder if this homo-phobia is derived from the Bible, because it certainly has been in existence in many cultures throughout the ages, including China. If it is a Christian concept, it should not then apply to non-Christians, just like non-Christians don't subscribe to many of the Christian Chirch's other practices and beliefs. I don't feel myself bound by the beliefs of other religions like Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Tibetan Book of the Dead etc. either, without passing judgement on their relative merits.
Add also Rafael ****, who was reported going to a church every day until he was exposed by the Chinese press, and who is being investigated by the ICAC.
The Church loves the sinners, but hates sins. Forgiveness is very important.
When Pope Francis told reporters on July 28,2013, "Who am I to judge"....., he was emphasizing a part of Catholic teaching often overlooked by the media and misunderstood by many people.
Pope Francis wants the Church to do more on poverty and social justice
Sure. Tell me who are sinners in the following anecdotes The Church loved sinners so much in the past it invaded their lands and looted their property in order to spread the Gospel! (Look at the enthusiastic Crusaders, and the Spaniards who invaded South America), and burned sinners at the stake in order to save their souls (the Inquisition). And Galileo Galilei was twice condemned as a heretic for agreeing with Copernicus that the solar system was centered round the sun and not the almighty earth. Which were the sins and which party needs forgiveness? What have I misunderstood? That the Church is infallible?
Indifferent to gay I agree with XYZ
that they have gained an unfair share of public attention
such that I began to feel a need to promote English language
with respect to gender differentiation
Marriage is for the established hetero-institution
Garriage is the term for the ho mo-institution
that’s becoming acceptable
with further distinction into
I don’t know if the politically correct speech by Cardinal John this year is the result of an order from his boss the Pope or just a trickle-down effect from a statement made in Italian by him. Since being a Cardinal is part of ruling structure of the Vatican, his absence in mention of gay marriage as oppose to previous Christmas message for Hong Kong I would think it is more an order from the Pope. But local priests can’t use order to lead their disciples. They could only preach and influence their believers.
On Sept 20, 2013, Pope Francis warned on the dangers of one’s love for money during his homily at the morning Mass. He said, "There is something in the attitude of love for money that takes us away from God,” the Pope said. “There are so many diseases, so many sins, but Jesus emphasizes so much that the love of money, in fact, is the root of all evil."
Because of this desire of money, the Holy Father continued, many have strayed from the faith. The power of money can make one deviate from the faith and ultimately, lose it.
“But money also sickens one’s thoughts, it also sickens one’s faith and makes them go on another path. These idle words, useless discussions...And it goes further. From there it gives rise to envy, strife, slander, evil suspicions, the conflicts of men with corrupt minds and devoid of truth, who consider religion as a source of income.” ‘I am a Catholic, I go to Mass because that gives me a certain status.’ They are looked upon as good...but underneath I do my business, right? I am a lover of money.’ And here is said a word, that we find very, very frequently in the newspapers. ‘Men with corrupted minds’. Money corrupts! There is no way out. “
For more details, please read:
The Church always teaches her people the truth, but we may choose not to follow.
If you go to the Mass often, you may hear the similar messages during the homilies.
Ioannes: Pax tecum
Come on, the clergy don't have normal financial woes. In particular look at the opulent style of living the Pope has. Being so well provided for, what does he know of the need/value of money. If the Church preaches against money, don't ask for 'tithing' and 'giving sacrificially' from its parishioners. I love money, because it buys me and my family food, home, education, and general freedom to do many things we wish. How is that wrong, and how has that 'corrupted' me? Moral: take the Church's pronouncements with a big pinch of salt and a healthy dose of reality.
Going to church also means sitting through some very boring hobby-horses of the speakers (Own up. We can see people's eyes switch off, and return when it is over and people are invited to sing), including in one case I attended, the evil of owning credit cards. Some parishioners I know literally only use cash. So that is 'truth'. About what, I wonder?


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