Pope Francis omitted comments expressing concern over China’s national security law for Hong Kong in a recent speech, according to Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, raising alarm for many Christians.
In a post on his website, Tosatti reported that the Holy See handed out a bulletin with prepared remarks by the pontiff that included his prepared speech.
The prepared remarks included comments on the China legislature’s recently passed national security law that broadens Beijing’s direct control over Hong Kong and which many believe erodes the city’s human rights and freedoms. Pastors who support the pro-democracy movement have also feared that under the new laws they could be extradited and tried in mainland China.
“I have followed with particular attention and not without concern the development of the complex situation in Hong Kong, and I wish to show above all my heartfelt closeness to all the inhabitants of that territory,” the pope’s original comments stated before they were changed, according to Tosatti.
It added, “I hope therefore that all the people involved will know how to face the various problems with a spirit of far-sighted wisdom and authentic dialogue. This requires courage, humility, non-violence, and respect for the dignity and rights of all.”
The prepared statement also included a call for “societal freedom, and especially religious freedom” to be “expressed in full and true liberty, as indeed various international documents provide for it.”
However, according to Tosatti, when Francis gave his remarks at the window of St. Peter’s Square, the journalists were informed that the comments pertaining to China and Hong Kong had been omitted from the speech.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski