• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong

'Clock's ticking' for talks on 2017 election, says Catholic diocese of Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 7:49am

The city's Catholic diocese has renewed its call for more "earnest dialogue" between officials and political parties amid heightening debate over how Hong Kong should achieve universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election.

The diocese said the move was needed as tension had not eased since it appealed to the city a year ago for talks and "responsible actions" to build a truly democratic, fair and accountable government.

Fung Yat-ming, supervisor of the diocese's Social Communications Office, declined to say whether the city's 368,000 Catholics should take part in the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement.

"The diocese would not call for Catholics to take part, nor stop them from taking part in Occupy Central, because we can all [follow our] conscience and the catechism … and we are accountable to the Lord," Fung said yesterday.

"There has been dialogue but it's been too slow - the clock's ticking. Therefore our call is firstly, for them to [get together] for talks more quickly; and secondly … please don't forget about various livelihood issues such as housing."

The diocese's stance was in contrast to that of the city's Anglican Archbishop the Most Reverend Paul Kwong, who caused a row a month ago by saying during a sermon that Christians should keep quiet, just as "Jesus remained silent" in the face of crucifixion.

Dr Chan Sze-chi, a senior lecturer at Baptist University's religion and philosophy department, said the Catholic call highlighted the need for Protestant churches to reflect on how they should react to Hong Kong's social issues and guide their flock.

"The Catholic diocese's stance is not a tough one at all … It's possible for Christian churches to say something similar," Chan said. "But the Christian community in Hong Kong lacks a leader [and a] living, teaching authority."

Fung, when asked to define what made a "truly democratic" political system, told reporters to refer to the diocese's statement in July last year.

In that 2,000-character Chinese statement, the diocese called for the chief executive to be directly elected by the one person, one vote method in 2017 after going through a "truly democratic" nominating process. It said it believed any system that deprived Hongkongers of a reasonable chance to elect their representatives in government was an infringement upon basic civil rights.

Fung's remarks yesterday echoed two auxiliary bishops newly appointed by the Vatican last month, who emphasised that the church supported civil disobedience when it was for the common good.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

It is encouraging to hear that bastion of democracy, the Roman Catholic sect, calling for a truly democratic system. How many people get to vote for the Pope, or even the appointment of a parish priest?
The church says that it supported civil disobedience when it is for the common good. I am neither a Christian or catholic, but as we can all see occupy central is not for the common good as the comments in the south china morning post by ordinary people indicates. It can also be seen the majority of the major organisation, prominent individuals, and a large sector of society in the campaign has indicated that it is against occupy central. Most important the people in central that are most affected by occupy central are against such a demonstration. It cannot be for the common good.
We are opposed to occupy central and civil disobedience. Hong Kong is not in such a dire state for civil disobedience which is another word for breaking the law. We are not against democracy which can be achieved in steps. If it can be achieved overnight we will be thrilled. Rome was not built in a day.
"For the common good" is merely a packaged excuse to illegally occupy central. Those support the occupy central do in fact hijacking the will of most Hong Kong people.
What the church is really saying is the clock is ticking for occupy central. Everyone knows if occupy central does not occur by the end of august it will not occur this year. Students will be back at school and it is not as good publicity to just see retired people on the street protesting. I also do not believe they could get 10,000 old age citizens out and I do not think they will do as good a job blocking central.
If it does not occur in the next 3 weeks it will not occur. Next summer Jimmy Lai probably wont be throwing money around to fun it and people in HK have short memories and will be focusing on something else next year.
You guys are funny : you claim your views represent those of a majority of the HK people but reject any plans for genuine democracy that would precisely enable the majority to be represented within Hong Kong's political institutions.
ubifrancehk: Do yo review what you type? General views can be collected from any society, democratic or not. Where do you find in Hong Kong "reject(ion of) any plans for genuine democracy"? The rejection is Occupying Central. You find this funny? Simple things amuse simple minds, indeed.
Shouldn't the Catholic diocese concentrate on religious issues and not the affairs of government or men? As Jesus is alleged to have said in matters financial 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's'. There is clearly a division of responsibility. And how is the Catholic diocese any more qualified than the next layman to pontificate on the next election, given that the Catholic Church has no experience with general elections, as another reader pointed out?
Hypocrisy in the highest form.
Genuine democracy? When neocons Jimmy Lai et al comes into power, this city will practise the "democracy" tailored to the neocons' agenda.
I do not believe you are so gullible to take their spin for the truth.....



SCMP.com Account