Senior Bishop Michael Yeung is to succeed John Tong as the new head of Hong Kong’s Catholic Church, with the Vatican expected to announce the news at 6pm on Tuesday. A mass will be held for Yeung at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Caine Road, Central this Saturday.

The appointment has been confirmed by Reverend Philip Chan Tak Hung on social media. Tong himself also revealed on Sunday that he would be retiring imminently.

Michael Yeung Ming-cheung
Michael Yeung Ming-cheung.

Yeung, 71, was ordained as a priest in Hong Kong in 1978 and appointed as the Vicar General of Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong in 2009. After Yeung was promoted to coadjutor bishop by the Vatican last November, he commented that he loved Chinese culture and said Hong Kong independence was “unfeasible.”

“The ties [between China and Hong Kong] cannot be cut completely,” Yeung said.

Yeung previously defended a controversial pastoral letter in which Tong urged believers to choose candidates in the District Council elections based on their stances on the values of marriage and the family, and on the proposal to enact a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO). Yeung has also been criticised for comparing homosexuality to drug addiction, but he claimed that he was misquoted by the media.

Cardinal John Tong
Cardinal John Tong. Photo: Catholic Church.

When asked about Yeung on Tuesday morning, Tong said that Yeung was superior to himself in every way and he had absolute confidence in him, RTHK reported.

Tong, who turned 78 on Monday, was asked in 2014 by Pope Francis to stay on for three more years. When Chief Executive Carrie Lam was elected this March, Tong urged Lam to “promote the democratic process in Hong Kong” so that the city “will eventually achieve the goal of universal suffrage.”

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.