The Role of Catholic Organizations and Catholic Figures in the Rise of Civil Society in Macau

Émilie Tran

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Today, charities and education are still the two realms in which the Catholic Church exercise a significant influence on society in Macao SAR, that used to be characterized as “the City of the Holy Name of God”. It is Catholic schools under the patronage of the diocese of Macao that provide the majority of schooling in the territory, amid greater challenges though, as the gap between rhetoric and reality in the application of Catholic principles has become blatant. Yet, this paper argues that it is Catholics, old and young, who are the forefront of the empowerment of the civil society in Macao, whether this concerns social justice or political modernization. Emphasizing the role played by some Catholic associations and figures in the rising empowerment of civil society in Macao in recent years, this study focuses on three organizations and their respective leadership: the New Macau Association, created in 1991 by legislators Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam Sa, arguably the most important democratic association in Macao; Caritas Macau, that dates back to the 1950s, and redeveloped by Paul Pun Chi Meng in the 1990s; and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Centre in Macao established in 1990, whose action, through the devotion of Sr Juliana Devoy, was instrumental in pushing for the legislation on domestic violence in Macao.


ConferenceInternational Conference on Rapid Religious Cultural Change 2020
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