ucanews.com reporter, Hong KongUpdated: November 17, 2016 11:06 AM GMT
Coadjutor Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung of Hong Kong met the press on Nov. 14. (ucanews.com photo)
Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, the new coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong met the press the day after his appointment on Nov. 13 and spoke on a wide range of issues including China-Vatican relations, gay protests and a new Catholic university.
"It is clear that the China-Vatican negotiation is in progress but any agreement will take time," Bishop Yeung said in his first press conference on Nov. 14. As coadjutor, Bishop Yeung has the right to succeed 77-year-old Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong. Bishop Yeung, 69, was Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong at the time of his appointment.
"It does not just involve one single issue and it cannot be done in a short time," Bishop Yeung said, adding that he did not know the exact details of the discussions.
"For example, if the appointment of bishops cannot be compromised, there could be other issues to talk about," he said.
The latest round of China-Vatican negotiations to resolve the issue of bishop's appointments is believed to have taken place in Rome the first week of November.
The appointment of eight government-backed Chinese bishops without Vatican approval remains an unresolved issue. Bishop Yeung said that the bishops would likely be dealt with on a case-by-case basis because "the pope has to respect the faithful's regard for their bishops."
Gay protests at Catholic college
Earlier that day, Bishop Yeung was attending a graduation ceremony at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education presided over by Cardinal Tong. It was interrupted by gay rights protesters who stormed the stage.
The protesters said the two prelates needed to apologize for past comments about gay people, including those from Bishop Yeung who was quoted as linking LGBT people with drug addiction on Nov. 8, 2015.
"The church doesn't have any enemy and it wouldn't criticize anyone. [The comments on LGBT people] were only talking about wrong-doing. For example, it is wrong to abuse drugs and we say so, but we still love drug addicts," Bishop Yeung said, as quoted in the South China Morning Post.
However, the bishop said he was misquoted and a key sentence was left out of news coverage at the time.
"Obviously, the issue of gay people is not equal to drug addiction. This last sentence was omitted by the media," he said.
Funding shortage for Catholic university
The Caritas Institute of Higher Education is set to become the first Catholic university in Hong Kong but Bishop Yeung, chair of the school council, said they still lack funds.
"We still need HK$200 million (US$25.6 million) to meet the target," he said, adding that academic reviews, teaching staff and student admission services all cost money.
"People always said I fawn over the rich and influential. I do not know any people who are rich and influential. We knock on everyone's doors and ask for donations. Fundraising is very difficult," he said.