Taipei (AsiaNews) – 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Holy See were celebrated yesterday in the capital. The 4th anniversary of the beginning of the Pope Francis’ pontificate was also marked. The event was organized jointly by the apostolic nunciature, the Chinese Regional Episcopal Conference (Taiwan Bishops), and the Fu Jen Catholic University.
Those in attendance at the event held at the Archdiocesan Auditorium were greeted by Msgr. Slađan Ćosić (高 德隆蒙 席), Chargé d'Affaires of the Apostolic Nuncio, Taipei's Archbishop John Shan-Chuan Hung (洪山川 總 主教), who is also President of the Bishops' Conference, Ms Anna Kao (外交部 歐洲 司司長 高 安 女士), General Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs for Relations with Europe and Dr. Vincent Han-Sun Chiang (江漢 聲 教授), President of the Catholic University Fu Jen.
In Taipei ....
Three very interesting reports were presented by Sister Beatrice Leung (梁潔芬 修女), professor and researcher at Wenzhao Foreign Language College in Kaohsiung, Father Jac Kuepers (柯博 識 神父), vice president for the mission of the new hospital of the 'Fu Jen University and Father Louis Gendron (詹德隆 神父), dean of the faculty of theology St. Roberto Bellarmino of New Taipei.
Sister Beatrice focused on the long journey of relations between Taiwan and the Vatican, pointing out the richness of content and collaborations at an international level that "have always aimed to help situations of need in many places on the planet."
Fr. Jac Kuepers reviewed the current statistics on Catholic activity in Taiwan in relation to poverty (hospitals, schools and social activities, etc.), underlining how engagement in the gathering of economic and moral resources abroad and on the island has led to substantial improvements and real relief for those in situations of indigence. "This mission not only continues but grows year by year."
Finally, Fr. Louis Gendron led those present on a retrospective journey of the mission of evangelization not only on the island, but for the entire Chinese-speaking world: this offered a vision of great hopes and expectations that have begun in the last five years with the constant presence of popular Chinese students and teachers in the theological faculty of the island. Entries are growing steadily and even the structures require a renewal to meet the demand. "This confirms the dynamism of the evangelizing action conducted by the Church in the Chinese world."
The lunch break was held at Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (香格里拉 遠東 國際 大 飯店) with two other interventions: the first held by Msgr. Adolf Tito Yllana (易 福 霖 主教), apostolic nuncio in Australia, who renewed the message of collaboration by Pope Francis "with the aim of building bridges between cultures and people of different origin", and the second by the Foreign Minister David Tawei Lee (李大維 部長), who stressed "the importance of relationships aimed at the growth of human coexistence with particular attention to those who are disadvantaged."
The day, well presented in various languages by the talented Fr. Otfried Chan (陳 科 神父), ended with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Msgr. Adolf Tito Yllana in the parish of the Holy Family in downtown Taipei.
... and in the Vatican
The 75th anniversary celebrations in Taipei were followed a few weeks by events in Rome, in the Vatican. On 5 October, in the Pontifical Urbanianum University, celebrated the anniversary with the celebration of the Republic of China in the presence of the Taiwanese Ambassador Matthew Lee and the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Paul Gallagher.
Amb. Lee stated: "We attach great importance to friendship with the Holy See and our ties are marked by a close and growing friendship that is reflected in our humanitarian collaboration, cultural exchanges, educational programs, interreligious dialogue, mutual visits, promoting international Catholic conferences , anti-money laundering initiatives, commitments against trafficking in human beings, a role as 'Church-Bridge' [with China] and our commitment to protecting the environment.”
Ambassador Lee emphasized that in relations with Beijing "we remain determined to follow the following principles for a peaceful commitment to the Continent: not to change our promises, not to change our goodwill, never to bend to the pressures and not to return to the old path of [armed] conflict. Our goal is not only to maintain peace in the region, but also to encourage China to gain a position as respected superpower. "
Msgr. Gallagher recalled the long history of collaboration between the island and the Holy See, between "the civil and ecclesial sphere in various areas of social and cultural life", "in the area of education, scientific research, cultural promotion, as well as in various initiatives for humanitarian cooperation, often developed in crisis situations. "
He also reiterated "the uselessness of war as a way of resolving international disputes", quoting Pope Francis, who recently stated the importance of "dissociating ourselves from the so-called" reasons for war ". And he concluded, "The Holy See will continue to be your committed partner in the family of peoples, supporting every initiative that contributes to dialogue, promotes a true culture of encounter and constructs bridges of brotherhood and peace for the good of all."