Cardinal John Tong Hon, the seventh Chinese cardinal in the history of the Church, speaks of his childhood in mainland China in this first part of a long interview, reports Vatican Insider.
Here he talks about his first official visit to Beijing in 1985, his moderate approach to the Communist Government there, his belief that “the future is bright” and “that the Chinese Catholic Church will one day enjoy full freedom”. In the second part of the interview, to be published soon, he talks about the relation between the Holy See and China.
Were you surprised to be made cardinal?
Yes, very surprised. I found out less than one day before the Holy Father made the announcement. The representative of the Holy See called me just after dinner, 24 hours before that. He informed me of this news and said he would send a written message to communicate in a more formal way. He asked me to put my response in writing.
You had to say ‘Yes’ in writing?
Yes. I wrote a very short note to the Holy Father saying that after receiving this message, I felt unworthy and yet grateful. I said I do not consider this a credit to me but rather as a sign of his great love and concern for the Church in China and a great encouragement for the Diocese of Hong Kong, encouraging us to make greater efforts to play our Bridge Church role between the Church in China and the Universal Church. I pledged to do my utmost to fulfill this role.
What steps can you take now as a cardinal in this direction?
I have been doing this kind of work already for over 30 years.I was born in Hong Kong. When the Japanese invaded Hong Kong, my family first went to Macau, and then moved to Guangzhou in southern China.
FULL STORY The Chinese cardinal who once danced on the streets to show his patriotism (Vatican Insider)