ROME– Pope Francis has actually designated Jesuit Dad Stephen Chow Sau-yan to be the new Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong as the latest elevation of members of his order to positions of influence.
Daddy Chow, who currently acts as the Provincial of the Chinese Province of the Society of Jesus, will replace Cardinal John Tong Hon, who has acted as the Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong given that January 2019.
In calling Chow to occupy this important and controversial post, Pope Francis has continued his penchant for designating members of his own order to key ecclesiastical posts.
The first Jesuit Pope in history, Francis called Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer in 2017 to head the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal workplace (CDF), making him the very first member of the Jesuit order to inhabit that position too.
“This provides the pope the opportunity to finally position his own guy in a really crucial spot,” stated Jesuit Daddy James Martin, editor-at-large of Americapublication, at the time.
While some are delighting in the consultation, “some will feel uneasy about having 2 members of the Society of Jesus holding the 2 most senior positions in the Church,” composed seasoned Vatican reporter Edward Pentin. No religious order in history has actually held these 2 posts all at once.
Throughout his almost eight-year pontificate, Pope Francis has routinely raised his confreres to positions of honor and influence.
In another initially, in June 2017 the pope provided Ireland its debut Jesuit bishop, naming Dad Alan McGuckian S.J. to the diocese of Raphoe. At the time, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that Dad McGuckian would bring “rich experiences and gifts” to his brand-new ministry as bishop.
In April of the same year, Francis selected two more Jesuits– Dad James Martinand Daddy Jacquineau Azétsop of the Gregorian University– as experts for the Vatican’s Secretariat for communications.
In December 2016, the pope named Canadian Jesuit Dad Michael Czerny as his Migration Czar within the Vatican office for the Promo of Integral Person Development.
In an extremely unusual move, the pope announced in September 2019 that he intended to make Dad Czerny a cardinal– despite the truth that he was not even a bishop– and the following month Francis initially ordained him bishop and after that made him cardinal the next day.
Because exact same consistory, the pope raised two other Jesuits to the rank of cardinal, the archbishop of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Höllerich, an outspoken supporter of for freer migration into Europe, and the Lithuanian archbishop Sigitas Tamkevičius.
In November, 2019, Francis tapped fellow Jesuit Dad Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves to head up the Vatican’s prominent secretariat for the economy, a post formerly held by Australian Cardinal George Pell.
Together with his appointments of acting Jesuits, Pope Francis has actually also continued enrolling members of his order in the ranks of the saints. Within a year of rising to the papacy, Francis canonized Dad Peter Faber S.J., the just one of the first three members of the order not yet deemed a saint (the other 2 were Saints Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier). In April 2016, the Pope authorized the beatification of Irish Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan, who got in the Jesuit Order in 1900 and passed away in 1933.
Vatican-watchers have anxiously awaited the pope’s option for the new bishop of Hong Kong, a post previously held by Cardinal Joseph Zen, who has actually been a singing critic of Francis’s mode of dealing with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In spite of his frequent denunciation of oppressions around the globe, Francis has been oddly silent concerning the CCP’s injustice of spiritual minorities, its “genocide” of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, and its heavy-handed suppression of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Fans of the Hong Kong protesters such as Benedict Rogers, co-founder of the monitoring group Hong Kong Watch, had voiced their hopes that Francis would select Hong Kong auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing as bishop of the diocese.
Understanding that such a move would have upset CCP management in Beijing, nevertheless, Francis was unlikely to make such a move, observers kept in mind.