Hong Kong’s Catholic Church will neither stop nor encourage its members to participate in civil disobedience activities, Father Michael Yeung Ming-cheung told Ming Pao Daily over the weekend.
However, the Church will be ready to offer assistance to members if they are arrested for such activities, he said. The help could come in the form of legal representation or pastoral care in jail.
Father Yeung, along with Joseph Ha Chi-shing and Stephen Lee Bun Sang, was appointed as an auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong over the weekend to assist Cardinal John Tong Hon in handling Hong Kong affairs.
Yeung said the government’s power comes from the people and that the government should hold further discussions with the public over universal suffrage as well as the Occupy Central movement and other civil obedience activities.
“We should respect those who stand up for social justice. However, more discussions are needed to find the best approach to achieve justice,” Yeung was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile Ha and Lee said that if civil disobedience activities were to happen, it should be ensured that they do not cause too much damage to society. The activities should be controllable, they said, adding that the church is ready to help members who are arrested in civil disobedience actions.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Hong Kong’s former bishop, undertook a walking tour last month to urge people to take part in an unofficial referendum on electoral reforms. He frequently speaks out in support of democracy and is no friend of Beijing. Throughout his term as the bishop, Zen criticized the government as he saw fit, especially on rights issues.
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