Chinese Religious Leaders Make New Year Resolution

Promise Cooperation for a Better World

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HONG KONG, FEB. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong and local religious leaders are saying that religions should join hands to build a better society for humanity.



Leaders of local religious communities, including Buddhist, Confucian, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Taoist, affirmed this in a message for the Lunar New Year, celebrated Sunday.

In the message, Bishop Tong said that religious leaders should promote “spiritual development on the basis of modesty, gratitude, forgiveness and love. By strengthening religious faith, we hope that people will turn away from sinful living and join hands in building a better world for humanity.”

The message is dated Feb. 8 and will be published on New Year.

The leaders affirmed their shared concern for “young people who live in self-indulgence … [practicing] outrageous conduct like falling into drug abuse and thus ruining their futures, selling companionship for money with no sense of shame, and promoting mass suicide via the Internet."

Inculturation

The Lunar New Year is also bringing the local Church a lesson on inculturation.

Since Ash Wednesday this year falls on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year (Feb. 17), the Church of Hong Kong dispensed the faithful from fasting and abstinence that day. However, they are obliged to choose some other suitable forms of penance or perform some works of charity, in keeping with the penitential spirit of the season of Lent.

Taking into account the Lunar New Year festivities, the rite of the giving of ashes in Hong Kong may also be postponed to Feb. 24 (during Mass) or Feb. 26 (during Stations of the Cross).