ASIA/HONG KONG - Bishops, priests and scholars from mainland China and Hong Kong in dialogue on synodality and "sinicization"

Thursday, 23 November 2023 local churches   evangelization   synodality   inculturation

Hong Kong (Agenzia Fides) - "The spirit of synodality and the Church in China: communion, participation and mission" was the theme of the third joint symposium of scholars from Hong Kong and mainland China, held on November 15 and 16 at the Holy Spirit Study Center and coincided with the visit to Hong Kong of the Archbishop of the Diocese of Beijing, Joseph Li Shan (see Fides 17/11/2023). The symposium was jointly organized by the Theological Research Commission of the Chinese Bishops' Conference and the Holy Spirit Study Center of the Diocese of Hong Kong. Cardinal John Tong, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, presided over the opening prayer. The Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Stephen Chow (sj), and Bishop Joseph Li Shan gave the keynote speeches. Around fifty scientists, bishops and priests discussed various topics together at the symposium. Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang of Zhoucun gave the closing speech and shared with participants his experiences at the Synod of Bishops' Assembly on Synodality in Rome in October. Other contributions examined the biblical and patristic roots of synodal practice in the Church, its theological foundations, and the possible relationship between synodality and forms of adaptation of ecclesiastical dynamics to the culture and administrative procedures of Chinese society. "The main actor of synodality is the Holy Spirit". This was the leitmotif of Cardinal Chow's speech, in which the Bishop of Hong Kong also disseminated several references to his experiences at the synod meeting in October. "To have the experience of a synodal Church," Cardinal Chow said, among other things, "we must first learn and be willing to 'speak in the Holy Spirit.' It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to listen to one another, to ourselves to exchange and differentiate, in mutual respect, trust and depth". Through dialogue and exchange, the cardinal emphasized, "the Church can further deepen the practice of synodality and promote the process of Sinicization in the Church". Bishop Joseph Li Shan emphasized that the original intention of the joint theological symposium was also "to listen to one another in the community of love and to explore together how to better spread the Gospel." The two dioceses of Hong Kong and Beijing "learn from each other, complement each other, enrich each other, promote evangelical and pastoral work on the path of 'Sinicization' and work together to promote the study of theological thought and the transmission of Catholicism in China". According to many participants, the exchange between scientists and clergy from Hong Kong and mainland China and the successful symposium opened up new perspectives for cooperation in the field of theological studies. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 23/11/2023)