Christ & Welt: ‘”Vor jedem Protest finden Gebete statt”‘

My interview with the journalist and scholar Katharin Tai is out in Christ & Welt. It’s on Hong Kong Catholicism, and it’s in German.

I remember the day this interview came about. A friend messaged me to see if I might be interested in being interviewed by a German newspaper about Hong Kong Catholicism. I thought about it for a bit. Was I a specialist in Hong Kong Catholicism? I mused as I am still hard at work on my book manuscript on Cantonese-speaking Protestants. Certainly there were ecumenical inflections.

Then it hit me that of course I was working with Halyna Herasym (Ukrainian Catholic University) on ‘Catholic talk’ in the secular civil societies of Ukraine and Hong Kong. I also have a forthcoming book chapter on ‘family values’ in a book edited by the Catholic scholar Bill Cavanaugh on Ecumenism in the World Church, in which I speak at length about Catholicism in Hong Kong. During the 2014 Umbrella Movement, my friend Artur Rosman also interviewed me in a three-part series on Ethika Politika on Hong Kong Catholicism and the protests; we covered Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun’s practice of the Second Vatican Council, the complex curial politics of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, and the tricky waters of Sino-Vatican geopolitics via Hong Kong.

For my interview with Christ & Welt, I continued with the line that the political scientist Beatrice Leung has set on Hong Kong as a ‘bridge church’ in her book Sino-Vatican Relations, and also offered a reading of John Baptist Cardinal Wu’s 1989 pastoral letter ‘March into the Bright Decade.’ I reflected as I worked through these complex politics of the Latin Church in Hong Kong with Tai that Hong Kong Catholicism is really where I cut my teeth on Catholic geopolitics. The experience felt like I was teaching an introduction to Hong Kong Catholicism, and I was both humbled and excited by it.

I am thankful to Katharin Tai and her editors at Christ & Welt for all their care in putting this interview together. I look forward to learning even more as Halyna Herasym and I move forward with our project.