The visit also was significant because of tensions between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China following the unilateral appointment by China of several bishops, a breach of the terms of the Sino-Vatican Accord, which was renewed for the second time in 2022.
Li’s comments opened the theological conference “The Synodal Church and the Church in China: Communion, Participation, Mission” on the final day of his visit.
“The Church should keep abreast of the times and promptly adjust the focus, methods, and modes of evangelization as society develops and progresses. It should strive to fulfill its proper functions, engage in social responsibility, and pay attention to people’s livelihoods,” Li said, the Diocese of Hong Kong’s news outlet, The Sunday Examiner, reported.
Prior to the conference, on Nov. 15, Li concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Stephen Chow and Cardinal John Tong Hon, 84, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Joseph Zen, 91, also bishop emeritus of the region, who has been a vocal opponent of the Sino-Vatican Agreement, was not present.
Ahead of Li’s visit to Hong Kong, Zen wrote: “Never consecrate a bishop without permission. Sacraments can be sacrificed, but faith cannot be sacrificed! Remember! Remember!”
During the Mass, Chow expressed his desire for communion among Chinese Catholics.
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