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C H A P T E R FIV E Non-traditional Relation s Betwee n the Hon g Kon g Governmen t an d Christian Churche s Non-traditional Relation s Betwee n th e Hon g Kon g Governmen t and Progressiv e Catholic s The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, was a watershed in the development of the universal Catholic Church. The Council Fathers advocated the integration of the Church into the modern, secular world and new methods in theological teaching. I n 1967 , Pope Pau l V I establishe d th e Pontifica l Commissio n o f Justice an d Peace a s an office i n the Roman Curia. I t was his intention tha t the Church do more in promoting justice and global peace.1 Th e Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese (DCJP) is one of many local commissions of the Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace, and aims to promot e socia l justice an d foste r developmen t i n developin g nations. 2 Promoting worl d justice i s considered a n essential elemen t o f spreading th e gospel message . I t i s believed tha t existin g socia l system s nee d structura l change and that all Christians must participate in the work of promoting world justice by standing on the side of the poor and opposed. In the 1980 s the role oftheDCJPwasto:3 1) advis e the Bishop and Catholic Diocese on plans and projects for the promotion of social justice. 74 Changing Church and State Relations in Hong Kong, 1950-2000 2) provid e the Church with relevant informatio n an d source material for the training of personnel in the work of promoting social justice, and the better education of Catholics in this area of work. 3) obtai n collective opinions on social issues through exchanges of views and consultation with all segments of the Catholic community, and to channel such information to the Diocese for reference in matters of policy and decision making. 4) organiz e and implement action plans for the promotion of social justice. 5) tak e timely and appropriate steps in response to any unjust occurrence in society. The Hong Kong Catholic authorities did not condone any political activity that might disrupt British rule in Hong Kong, fearing it could backfire o n the Church. Th e Catholi c Churc h coul d no t affor d t o offen d th e governmen t because it relied on continued government subsidie s to operate its education and socia l services . I n th e 1970s , befor e th e signin g o f th e Sino-Britis h Agreement on the future o f Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Catholic authoritie s were onl y half-heartedl y implementin g Catholi c socia l teaching. 4 However , when the British government in Hong Kong itself began to promote democracy in the final stage s of its rule, the Church did not worry that it s advocacy o f democracy would embarrass the British. Due t o th e ideologica l incompatibilit y betwee n religio n an d atheis t Communism, as well as the ongoing dispute between Chinese Catholics an d the communist Chinese regime, Hong Kong Catholics sought democracy and political participation as means to keep the autonomy as promised by the 'one country two systems' policy. By doing so, they intended to protect themselves and thei r Chines e counterpart s fro m persecutio n an d th e los s o f religiou s freedoms (Cha n and Leung 1996). In its early stage s the DCJP merely promoted th e Church's concer n fo r social an d politica l affair s bu t i t late r issue d man y publi c statement s an d petitions (Abbot t 1996 , 199-308) . Committee s o f Justic e an d Peac e wer e established in local parishes to introduce this aspect of Catholic social teaching at the grassroots level. These Committees were then combined with the Major Superior Religious Me n and Women Associations o f Hong Kong, educatin g the nuns and priests about the need for socia l justice, and preparing them to be serious in promoting justice and peace in the Christian context.5 Wit h their dedication, it was expected that they would make a...


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