• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:50pm
NewsHong Kong

‘Silence is a voice’: Reverend Paul Kwong denies discouraging people from speaking up on politics

Archbishop responds to storm after his sermon cited Jesus staying silent in face of crucifixion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 July, 2014, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 4:17am

The archbishop of the Hong Kong Anglican Church has denied he was trying to discourage people from speaking up on political issues in a controversial sermon during which he pointed to the example of Jesus remaining silent in the face of crucifixion.

The Most Reverend Paul Kwong told a church newsletter that Jesus’s silence was, in fact, a “voice” – a “peaceful, tolerating, accepting voice of love”.

He said he was not trying to change people’s political viewpoints, but said protest methods “have to be legal”.

Kwong’s interview was his first response to fierce criticism of his sermon last week.

In the sermon, delivered on July 6 at St Paul’s Church, Kwong touched on politics and questioned why Hong Kong people “speak up so much” and said Jesus remained silent when faced with crucifixion.

He appeared to mock protesters who had complained about being denied water and access to toilets after they were arrested during a sit-in protest in Central that followed the July 1 pro-democracy march.

Listen: Audio translation of part of a sermon given by Archbishop of HK Anglican Church telling congregants pro-democracy advocates should keep quiet

Kwong asked why they did not “bring along their Filipino maids”.

He also said pro-democracy demonstrators had fallen victim to a “herd mentality”.

Some fellow Anglicans called his words “outrageous”, while The Reverend Kwok Nai-wang – a senior pastor at the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China – called them “inappropriate” and questioned whether Kwong’s membership of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference conflicted with his church duties.

In the newsletter interview, Kwong said he did not mean to discourage Christians from speaking up.

“Jesus remained silent as a lamb. The act in itself is a ‘voice’. His ‘voice’ was not confrontational, but a peaceful, tolerating, accepting ‘voice of love’,” he wrote.

“Have I not spoken out? Probably my voice is different from others,” he added.

He said he hoped this “approach” could inspire Christians considering how to engage with Hong Kong’s current political debates.

“What I don’t want to see most is a divided Hong Kong. I accept different political views among Christians, and I would not try to change their political stance. But [their] methods have to be legal, and with the love and humility of Christ.”

This had always been his stance regardless of his appointment to the CPPCC, he said. “The CPPCC role only allows me an opportunity to speak from another stage.”

Watch: What do Hongkongers think about Rev. Paul Kwong’s speech against pro-democracy advocates?

Kwong also denied being sarcastic about the protesters arrested after the July 1 march.

“I was not laughing at or belittling the [July 1] marchers,” he told the newsletter.

“I was only citing Jesus’s example in the Book of Matthew to illustrate my sermon’s theme: that is one can only have peace of mind with tenderness and humility.”



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This article is now closed to comments

Kwong is right as he is able to emphasise the long forgotten keyword for the Hong Kong society: humility.
Finally he comes out from behind Koon's frock and what do we get?
- denials & disingenuous interpretations of his own words (mincing of words i.e. he was not mocking the MARCHERS - nobody said or even imagined he was - He WAS clearly mocking the protestors.
(we get lies)
What would we expect from a spiritual leader and NOT get?
- honest true explanation of his own position, acceptance of responsibility for his own wrongs - sincere apology
"Reverend" Paul Kwok is every bit a dishonest politician and nothing near what we should rightfully expect of a spiritual leader.
Next time I see you Kwok, regardless of where, when or what robes you are wearing I will call loudly for you to resign.
"Silence is a voice" in the same way that lack of faith is a faith?
Talk about double talk and gobbledegook
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I'm sure Reverend Paul Kwong will have his followers, but for him to stereotype all Philippinos as maids, I found such comment offensive, if not insensitive or inappropriate. A slip of tongue? I doubt it, as it's more likely a view that is deeply entrenched in his mind. Sorry Reverend, you have lost whatever respect I have for you, as a leader of the church.
I agreed the archbishop that why they did not “bring along their Filipino maids”.
At this moment, I wondered why the media focused on what he said and challenged his duty or the membership. Is it a kind of democracy? Can't the archbishop speak?
"Reverend" Paul Kwong denies telling his parishioners to be quiet and to accept Beijing's will regarding the nomination formula, saying merely, protest methods “have to be legal”. Funnily enough, he didn't say a single word about protest methods having to be legal. He very clearly talked about people being silent and not arguing about things. This point does not ring true.
"Reverend" Paul Kwong denies "laughing at or belittling the marchers." No one ever thought he was belittling the marchers. He WAS belittling the protesters who were arrested.
What is this? Playing with words like a politician?
He can't even take responsibility for what he said. He has to mince words - deny - twist a word here or there - he is playing politics.
This IS NOT the way a person of God deals with Truth.
This proves beyond a doubt the nature of Kong's personality. It is that of a politician - not priest.
I will advise the archbishop: say what you mean and mean what you say. If not, silence is gold.
The right to be silent is fundamental - those so called democracy fighters simply do not understand this.
Kwong has every right to voice his opionions on any issue.
@honger: Agreed.




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