HONG KONG — The Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong is urging increasingly-violent demonstrators to regain their inner peace and to carry out protests peacefully.
Cardinal John Tong Hon sent his appeal in an open letter to local citizens on 11 October.
The Cardinal says he is deeply pained by the worsening situation in the city.
He acknowledges he is not a politician, and so declines to offer a solution to the crisis.
But he does express his hope that God will help the people of Hong Kong to overcome “this period of repeated disorders”.
“When our legitimate requests are not accepted, we may feel disappointed,” Cardinal Tong says. But, he adds, “you must not lose hope, for despair blurs our gaze towards the future, draining our lives.”
Hong Kong’s Cardinal says anger leads to hate, which “consumes our ability to distinguish between good and evil, destroying goodness and causing violence.”
“I firmly believe that violence is not the solution to the current problem, but only causes deeper and deeper wounds,” he says.
Rather, Cardinal Tong offers Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as models who “have carried out peaceful protests against tyranny”.
Hong Kong has thrived, he adds, because of its people’s ability to respect each other’s differences.
Cardinal Tong says harmony can be rebuilt, “only by responding to the demands of citizens.”
The government and citizens must work to rebuild mutual trust, he notes.
“I feel deep sorrow when I see young people anxious and worried because of the current social situation,” says Cardinal Tong, “because they not only represent our future but also our present.”
Finally, the Cardinal calls on all social classes and authorities to ease young people’s concerns and find a way out of the impasse.
“I urge the government to listen carefully to the cry of Hong Kong citizens,” he concludes, “those in power must apply and respect the law conscientiously, restoring the trust and respect of the citizens towards them.”