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Religious leaders urge fortitude, compassion in hard times

  • Hong Kong
  • February 20 2009
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In their greetings for the Lunar Year of the Ox, leaders of the main religions in Hong Kong encouraged their faithful to work hard like the ox amid the global economic slump.






Bishop John Tong Hon




About 200 people of various religions attended a gathering the Colloquium of Six Religious Leaders of Hong Kong held at a Confucian-run school on Feb. 19. The Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 26.

Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong told the people to emulate the hardworking and serving nature of the ox. The Catholic bishop also cited Pope John Paul II´s 1990 encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" (Mission of the Redeemer) in stressing the need to build a fairer and more loving society.

Tong Yun-kai, president of the Confucian Academy, noted news of suicides in well-off Western countries due to the global financial crisis, and said this indicates "something has gone wrong" with Western education, culture and economic systems. He suggested following the Confucian spirit of not gaining fortune by unethical means, but rather adopting a positive attitude when facing difficulties.

Anglican Bishop Thomas Soo Yee-po encouraged the people to help others understand and reflect on the true meaning of life, and bring peace and blessings to suffering people. The religious sector should encourage people to espouse virtues such as love, equality and justice, said the chairperson of the Hong Kong Christian Council.

Father Edward Chau King-fun, the Catholic representative on the colloquium´s secretariat, told UCA News that love is particularly needed in this time of global depression. Employers should not lay off their employees or treat them harshly out of monetary or selfish reasons, but should treat them with dignity, he added.

The interreligious colloquium comprises Buddhist, Catholic, Confucian, Muslim, Protestant and Taoist (Daoist) leaders.

END
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