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Hong Kong

Pope names Bishop Tong as Cardinal

He and 21 others will receive their red hats during a papal consistory

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

Published: January 06, 2012 11:35 AM GMT

Updated: January 09, 2012 05:46 AM GMT

Pope names Bishop Tong as Cardinal
Bishop John Tong Hon holds the hair-relic of Blessed John Paul late last year

Pope Benedict XVI today named Archbishop Fernando Filoni and Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, both experts on China Church affairs, as new cardinals during the Angelus in St Peter's Square. They were among 22 new cardinals who will receive red hats in the fourth consistory of Benedict’s pontificate on February 18. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said there is generally only one cardinal in a diocese but since he will turn 80 on January 13, which means he will have no voting rights in a papal conclave, it is reasonable for the pope to name another cardinal for Hong Kong. Noting that it is a personal choice of the pope, the retired bishop of Hong Kong said “it is to show his goodwill towards China.” Bishop Tong, 72, will be the seventh Chinese cardinal in history. Bishop Tong was born in 1939 and ordained a priest in 1966. He was appointed auxiliary bishop in 1996 and then coadjutor bishop in 2008. He was installed as the ordinary in 2009 after Cardinal Zen retired. Besides teaching at the Holy Spirit Seminary College, Bishop Tong has served as director of the Holy Spirit Study Centre, a research center specializing in China Church affairs, since its inception in 1980. In an interview with ucanews.com when he became the ordinary, Bishop Tong said his concern for the China Church will continue, but he will adhere to Church principles in dealing with the mainland. However, he has adopted a different style from the outspoken Cardinal Zen in showing care for brothers and sisters in China. In his 2010 Christmas message, Bishop Tong asked his Catholics to fulfill their important responsibility of Bridge Church “in a prudent and low profile manner.” Archbishop Filoni has served as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since May 2011. Before that, he served as substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, the third most important position at the Vatican. The Italian archbishop was born in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1970. After entering the Holy See´s diplomatic service in 1981, he worked mostly in Asia. Between 1992-2001, he was assigned to Hong Kong to head a “study mission," during which he acted as the pope’s link with the Church in mainland China. The two new cardinals are also members of the Vatican’s Commission for the Church in China. Related reports China expert succeeds Cardinal DiasNew Hong Kong bishop says he will follow Church principles and Pope´s letter

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