2011-10-19
Cardinal Joseph Zen Press Conference

 

Cardinal Joseph Zen Press Conference Wednesday, 19 October 2011
 
Dear Friends in the Media,
 
The process of judicial review on the Amended Education Ordinance 2004 has reached the end. The Catholic Diocese has expressed disappointment at the judgment of the Court, but at the same time has expressed the decision of the Diocese to carry on the educational endeavour (within the constraints of that Ordinance).
 
I take this opportunity to reaffirm that I have never said that we would stop promoting education in the case we lost the case at Court. What I said is that, under the Amended Ordinance, we would have no more, as in the past, the guarantee that we could run the schools according to our vision and mission. Then one day we would face the fact that some of our schools can no more be called Catholic schools and that we may be forced to withdraw from it. To abandon education just because we lost the case was never in our mind and we think that it would not be supported by the parents of our students.
 
As to the question whether we would consider civil disobedience, my answer is: "In this case, civil disobedience would mean running the schools against the Amended Ordinance. Then, as a result, we would be forced to surrender the schools. Since I said that we have no intention to surrender any school, civil disobedience is out of the question."
 
Then, what have I to say to our friends in the media who take the trouble to come here this morning?
 

I am a Salesian of Don Bosco. For many years I had responsibility as Manager of all Salesian schools in Hong Kong, in my capacity as Vice-Provincial and Provincial. Then I have been on the front-line as Supervisor of our Aberdeen Technical School. At the beginning of the 70's, when I took part in the General Assembly of the Salesian Congregation, we spent much time discussing the Catholic vision of education and, what we call, the idea of an Educational Community, which corresponds to the spirit of school-based management. Since the year 2000, I have been busy fighting the Government project of a so-called School-Based Management Ordinance, from its consultation period through the legislating process. Upon my retirement as Bishop of Hong Kong, my successor, Very Reverend John Tong, invited me to stay on in the Diocesan Commission which cares for the Court case, because of its importance.

 

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