Another sensitive topic was the in-depth presentation of Professor Anthony Lam, of Holy Spirit Seminary in Hong Kong, who outlined the evolution of the Catholic presence in China. While some may have found his reading too harsh and perhaps pessimistic, the fact remains that his findings - often based on statistical data - show that the Catholic Church is struggling in the Chinese context. The number of priests is not increasing, and more so, the number of young women joining religious congregations has decreased drastically in the last ten years. This picture should give committed Catholics, including the Society of Jesus, some concern for seeking a more promising future for the Church in China. For example, the attention on the question of the ordination of bishops and the communities focused on the presence of priests, so that lay people may not have easily found their place. Could they have heard a call to assume responsibilities? Does a Catholicism strongly characterized by attachment to tradition, especially liturgical ones, leave room for other expressions of faith? The Ignatian approach could perhaps provide answers here.
The evening was a good opportunity for Fr. Arturo Sosa to get to know the Jesuit world of Hong Kong and the broader Chinese world. He listened, received, and processed all these data, with his intelligence and with his heart. Thus, at the end of the meeting - which began at 5:30 pm and ended after 9 pm - he had no speech to deliver. He simply thanked the participants for opening their hearts to him and for sharing their concerns. He encouraged them to live with these tensions with confidence and hope, as Abraham had done before an uncertain future - but a future that God assured him of his presence and accompaniment.