I have read in the newspapers quite worrying news about possible restrictions to the celebration of the Tridentine Mass (what we now call the extraordinary form of the Roman rite).
I want to make it clear that I cannot be considered an extremist of this liturgical form and that I have worked actively, as a priest and as a bishop, for the liturgical reform after Vatican II, also trying to curb excesses and abuses, which unfortunately have not been lacking in my diocese. So I will not be accused of factiousness. But I cannot deny, in my experience in Hong Kong, the much good that has come from the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and from the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. There is a faithful group here that for decades has participated in this form that comes to us from the liturgical riches of our Tradition, a group that has never created problems for the diocese and whose participants have never questioned the legitimacy of the renewed Mass. In the community that participates in the extraordinary form in Hong Kong, many young people have passed through, who through this Mass have rediscovered the sense of adoration and reverence that we owe to God, our Creator.
I have worked for liturgical reform, as I have said, but I cannot forget the Mass of my childhood, I cannot forget when as a child in Shanghai my father, a devout Catholic, took me to Mass every day and on Sundays he made me attend five Masses! I felt such reverence, I was so fascinated (and still am!) by the beauty of Gregorian chant, that I think that experience nourished my vocation to the priesthood, as it did for so many others. I remember the many Chinese faithful (and I don’t think all of them knew Latin…) participating in these liturgical ceremonies with great enthusiasm, just as I can now witness in the community that participates in the Tridentine Mass in Hong Kong.
The Tridentine Mass is not divisive; on the contrary, it unites us to our brothers and sisters of all ages, to the saints and martyrs of every time, to those who have fought for their faith and who have found in it inexhaustible spiritual nourishment.
(Translation by Bree A. Dail)
Ho letto sui giornali notizie abbastanza preoccupanti su possibili restrizioni alla celebrazione della Messa Tridentina (quella che ora chiamiamo forma straordinaria del rito romano). Voglio dire chiaramente che io non sono considerabile come estremista di questa forma liturgica e che ho lavorato attivamente, come sacerdote e come vescovo, per la riforma liturgica dopo il Vaticano II, anche cercando di frenare gli eccessi e gli abusi, che purtroppo non sono mancati anche nella mia diocesi. Quindi non mi si accuserà di faziosità. Ma non posso negare, nella mia esperienza di Hong Kong, il tanto di buono che è venuto dal motu proprio Summorum Pontificum e dalla celebrazione della Messa Tridentina. C’è qui un gruppo fedele che da decenni partecipa a questa forma che ci viene dalle ricchezze liturgiche della nostra Tradizione, un gruppo che non ha mai creato problemi alla diocesi e i cui partecipanti non hanno mai messo in dubbio la legittimità della Messa rinnovata. Nella comunità che partecipa alla forma straordinaria in Hong Kong sono passati tanti giovani, che attraverso questa Messa hanno riscoperto il senso dell’adorazione e della reverenza che dobbiamo a Dio, nostro Creatore.
Io ho lavorato per la riforma liturgica, come ho detto, ma non posso dimenticare la Messa della mia fanciullezza, non posso dimenticare quando da bambino in Shanghai mio padre, devotissimo cattolico, mi portava a Messa tutti i giorni e alla domenica mi faceva partecipare a cinque Messe! Sentivo una tale reverenza, ero così affascinato (e lo sono ancora!) dalla bellezza del canto gregoriano, che penso quell’esperienza abbia nutrito la mia vocazione al sacerdozio, come per tanti altri. Ricordo i tanti fedeli cinesi (e non penso tutti sapessero il latino…) partecipare con grande trasporto a queste cerimonie liturgiche, così come ora posso testimoniare nella comunità che partecipa alla Messa Tridentina di Hong Kong.
La Messa Tridentina non è divisiva, essa anzi ci unisce ai nostri fratelli e sorelle di tutte le epoche, ai santi e ai martiri di ogni tempo, a coloro che hanno lottato per la loro fede e che hanno trovato in essa un nutrimento spirituale inesauribile.
(Homily for the June 4th Memorial Mass)
It has been 32 years from 1989 to 2021. I was 57 years old, a young old man, that year. Those 57 and 60-year-old this year were young people in their twenties then. I believe they have a deep recollection of what happened on May 35th that year. But young people in their twenties this year can only listen to other people’s recounting a period of history that is about to be obfuscated by the passing of years.
Tonight, brothers and sisters of 90, 60 and below 30 years of age gathered here to participate in this Holy Mass because we belong to the same family, the family of Hong Kong people, the family of Hong Kong Catholics, as well as the family of the Chinese people and the family of humanity. We do not know how tomorrow’s newspapers will label our get-together this evening. For us, it is a memorial Mass.
Let us first remember what a memorial Mass is. We Catholics believe that when a person dies, his life will be judged definitively. We hope that everyone will be invited to enter Heaven and enjoy eternal glory. But we cannot rule out that some people will lose such blessing because they exclude themselves. Even those who are qualified to go to Heaven may still need to go through a purification process. This is our Catholic faith. Because of penitence, the sins committed in the past had been forgiven. But there still might be some stains and defects that had not been completely remedied through good deeds. They must be purified in painful expectation after death before they can enter the true blessing.
In this purification process, they get help from the whole Church because the Church is a mystic body. We share the treasure of this mystic body, we can contribute our prayers and virtuous deeds to this treasury and we can draw graces from it to help our brothers and sisters in completing this painful purification process.
The function of prayer and virtuous deeds is not limited by time. We are convinced that those brothers and sisters are already in Heaven, our offering and prayer today have already helped them the moment they needed it. Of course, such help is not limited to those who were baptized because any honest people with kind hearts belong to God’s people.
We dedicate this memorial Mass to remember the brothers and sisters who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and democracy in Tiananmen Square and the nearby alleys 32 years ago. What they demanded at that time was a clean government. What they longed for was a truly strong China. Unfortunately, they left the world bearing the stigma of being rioteers. Their sacrifice was for us, and we embrace their unfulfilled hope: a just and peaceful society, a people respected by the regime, and a truly great China respected by the world.
Some people will say: “The martyrs are already in Heaven. They have been remembered for 32 years. It is enough!” No, we really respect and love the patriotic martyrs, we do love our country, our hopes never die.
We read the Book of Tobit in the Masses this week. Tobit in his captive land learned one day that one his compatriot was killed, and his body was thrown in the marketplace. He immediately carried him home and buried him after the sun went down. He knew that by doing so he was risking his life. His neighbors also mocked him: “Is it worth betting on the life of a living person because of the respect for a dead corpse?” But Tobit could not let the human corpse become the food of the wild dogs. Similarly, we cannot let the names of the martyrs be shamed forever.
The Cultural Revolution has got an official evaluation. In 1981, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China resolved that the Cultural Revolution was an “internal upheaval initiated by the misguided leader…which brought catastrophic damage to the Party, the State and the whole people” and “the chief responsibility for the grave ‘Leftist’ error…does indeed lie with Comrade Mao Zedong.” So, wouldn’t it be easier to make a fair assessment also for June 4th?
If they still not listen to the voice of the people for 32 years, does it not make us fear that those in power still believe that the regime is justified to kill unarmed young people who love their country “for the sake of a so called “general interest?” Then, the June 4th tragedy is not slowly leaving us, but rather it will gradually appear before our eyes again.
We refuse pessimism. We will not lose hope. While remembering our dead, our prayer is also to ask the Lord to lead our rulers on the path of justice and peace.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, and the Chinese Martyr-Saints deliver our prayers to the altar of God.
在三月廿八日的Sunday Examiner（英文公教報）（第十二頁全頁）一篇從UCAN（天亞社）轉載的文章使我又震驚，又忿怒。他們怎麼可以把那篇高傲地侮辱我們兩位教宗（若望保祿二世和本篤十六世）的文章登在我們的Sunday Examiner上？！
接着來的Sunday Examiner（四月十八日）（第十二頁全頁）一篇，又是由UCAN ／ La Croix International轉載的，非常偏激的文章使我更害怕Sunday Examiner根本是有計劃用這些文章來毒害我們的教友（各位兄弟姊妹要知道，現在的天亞社不是以前的天亞社，La Croix International和La Croix也不是同一件事）。
但還有人應該出來解釋發生了的是什麼事，是誰讓那兩篇文章被登出在我們的Sunday Examiner上？是那副總編輯Fr. Josekutty Mathew？是總編輯何嘉麗女士？是蔡神父？是……？應該有人出來解釋並道歉，否則我們就接受一切，繼續吞下藏毒的Sunday Examiner？
I could not believe my eyes when I spotted on Sunday Examiner (28 March, page 12) a full page article copied form UCAN, in which the author was incredibly arrogant in insulting our beloved and highly respected Pope J.P. II and Benedict XVI. Seeing no protest appearing on the following two issues (4 April, 11 April) I posted one on my blog on 16 April.
The following issue of Sunday Examiner (18 April, page 12) reproduced another full page article from UCAN / La Croix (for those who do not know the facts, this UCAN is no more the old UCAN, and the La Croix is La Croix International, two rather different entities). It only confirmed my fear that our Sunday Examiner has a plan of feeding our readers with similar poisonous rubbish.
Today’s issue of Sunday Examiner (25 April, page 12) reports a piece of “news” from Vatican CNS which seems to be a very much needed correction of the previous article. Maybe the people at 16 Caine Road have visited my blog.
But they still owe us an explanation of who were those responsible for the articles on issues 28 March and 18 April (Fr. Josekutty Mathew? Ms. Susanne Ho? Fr. Choy? ….) Somebody must take the responsibility and apologize! Otherwise should our faithful still support Sunday Examiner?
在三月廿八日的 Sunday Examiner（英文公教報），12頁，有一篇文章這樣開始：「我們很多人記得在教宗聖若望保祿二世在任時及教宗本篤退休前那些日子，我們怎樣生活在壓迫下。那兩位教宗束縛教會，嚴厲禁止言論自由並阻止實行梵二大公會議的某些決議。」
我實在很忙碌，希望有人會出來在同一媒體上作一個強烈的抗議，但並沒發生。難道現在祇有菲籍姊妹們看 Sunday Examiner 嗎？
但我知道以前也有許多別處的教友對我們的 Sunday Examiner 很有信心，而 Sunday Examiner 那時對 UCA News（天亞社）也可以很有信心，但現在情形很不同了。
那篇整頁文章的作者是孟買的一位神父，但文章刊於 UCA News 而 UCA News 卻作出聲明：「此文純屬作者看法，未必代表 UCAN 的官方立場」。
粗略看看Sunday Examiner主編為讀者選擇的文章，我怕本港這刊物已附屬於 UCAN（今日的UCAN）及 La Croix International（十字架報）了。
其實影響這一切的是「今日之星」Fr. Michael Kelly, SJ，天亞社的總裁也是「曾」很有名的 La Civiltà Cattolica（公教文明雜誌）英文版的主編。他是教宗方濟各「密友」Fr. Spadaro的朋友！
他以為識得把 orthodoxy 和 orthopraxis 對立起來真了不起了（其實教宗本篤不是說過：「一個沒有以真理為基礎的愛是一個空殼，你能把任何什麼東西放入去」）。
還有那 “Sinodality”，我們在聖經和傳統裡都找不到這件東西，多謝 Fr. Myron J. Pereira的指示，才知道原來那就是今天在德國教會正開始實行的（但這並不來自梵二大公會議〔難道梵二已是過時的了嗎？〕）。
Incredible things keep happening today in the world; incredible things are being said and written, but should we just let everything go, as if all this was normal?
I read on page 12 of Sunday Examiner 28 March 2021: “Many of us still remember how depressed we all were during the last days of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. Both he and his predecessor Pope St. John Paul II had fettered the Church, clamping down harshly on freedom of expression and sabotaging several Vatican Council initiatives.”
How incredible, how outrageous! Do they expect the Hong Kong readers to swallow such arrogant and insulting nonsense?
Being very busy, I left to others to make some strong protest on the following issues of the paper. But nothing appeared! Maybe nobody today, except our Philippino sisters, read the S.E. anymore?!
But there used to be many foreign readers who used to trust S.E., which could (for a long time) trust UCAN.
So I feel my duty of conscience to sound the alarm and call the people responsible for explaining and apologizing.
The full-page article is signed by a certain priest in Mumbai, but the article appeared on UCAN, with the declaration that “the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCAN.”
Lie, Lie, Lie!
A cursory glance at the articles, chosen by our Sunday Examiner’s Deputy Editor in Chief to feed its readers, makes me suspect that our weekly paper is going to be a subsidiary of UCAN (today’s UCAN) and of La Croix International.
Behind all this is our new star Fr. Michael Kelly SJ, executive director of UCA News and editor of the English edition of the (once) prestigious “La Civiltà Cattolica,” so a friend of the friend of Pope Francis, Fr. Spadaro.
UCAN’s disclaimer is a lie. The article is perfectly faithful to the spirit of today’s UCAN and La Croix International. The author of the article is only a candid messenger, blatantly shouting some common places.
He is proud to oppose orthopraxis (compassion) to orthodoxy (faith) [Pope Benedict says that “love” without foundation on “truth” is an empty shell you can fill with anything!].
He seems to be putting all the blames on the “celibacy” of the clergy [But even Pope Francis abstained from doing that].
And the “Sinodality,” a word we don’t find in the Holy Scripture, neither in the Tradition, but thanks to Fr. Myron J. Pereira, SJ, we know it to mean what we see being practiced nowadays in Germany [but this is not in continuity with the Vatican II (which should belong already to the past?)].
Dear brothers and sisters living in Hong Kong, it is time we declare to which Church we want to belong!