The head of China’s state-backed Catholic church begins historic trip to Hong Kong

by | Nov 14, 2023 | Religion

HONG KONG (AP) — The head of the Catholic church in China began a trip to Hong Kong on Tuesday at the invitation of the city’s pope-appointed Roman Catholic cardinal, marking the first official visit by a Beijing bishop in history.Joseph Li, who was installed by China’s state-controlled Catholic church as an archbishop, visited the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the morning, public broadcaster RTHK said.
Li’s five-day tour came after the city’s newly installed Cardinal Stephen Chow invited him to visit Hong Kong during a landmark trip to Beijing in April — the first visit to the Chinese capital by the city’s bishop in nearly three decades. Experts said the invitation was a symbolic gesture that could strengthen the fragile relationship between China and the Vatican.
Earlier this month, Chow said his job is to foster better communication between the sides, and underscored the importance of human connections when asked about the significance of Li’s visit.
The Hong Kong diocese said Li would meet with Chow and “different diocesan offices to promote exchanges and interactions between the two dioceses.” It said this is the first time a Beijing bishop has officially visited Hong Kong, without disclosing further details about Li’s trip.
Li took part in an evening prayer service at a chapel on Monday and exchanged gifts with Chow, according to Sunday Examiner, a publication operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong. It added Li would visit educational organizations and the Hol …

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