08/16/2012, 00.00
TAIWAN

Taiwan: Young Christians, Buddhists and Taoists together for Interreligious Dialogue

Xin Yage
The work of Taiwanese Conference on Religion and Peace, which every year organizes interfaith events among young people. This year’s meeting - the 13th - was attended by representatives of 10 different faiths. Taiwanese professor evaluates the work of Fr. Alberto Poulet Mathis, a Jesuit priest precursor of interreligious dialogue on the island of Taiwan.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - Forming students to have an open heart and their gaze fixed on the future; this is the mission of the Taiwan Conference on Religion and Peace (TCPR). Launched in 1994 by French Jesuit priest Alberto Poulet Mathis, every year the TCPR organises a meeting on interfaith dialogue, which this year came to the 13th edition and took place in Hualian on the east coast of Taiwan August 2 to 5 last. The event was attended by representatives of 10 youth religious groups, including: Buddhists, Taoists, Catholics, Protestants and ikuantaos. Caiqi Chen, a professor in one of the largest Catholic schools in Taipei and TCPR scholar, explained that "the main objective of the meeting is to acquaint young people with each other to avoid easy misunderstandings between religions. Talking and working together, the young people nurture authentic friendships that pave the way for future cooperation and mutual enrichment. "

The meetings, which have become a tradition in Taiwan, always take place in the summer. Caiqi Chen points out that this year the organization was also attended by students from previous years: in this way, there is a continuity of relationships and the older members bear witness to their friendship to newcomers.

The professor also recalled the great work for Interreligious Dialogue of Fr. Poulet Mathis, the founder of TCRP. He was the first to propose dialogue among young people. "Father Alberto - says Chen Caiqi - was considered by Taiwanese a symbol of dialogue between faiths. Talking to him brought you to a deeper level. He knew how to enter the minds of Taiwanese. He was not afraid to adopt the Buddhist, Taoist or Muslim way of thinking". After his death in 2010 Fr. Paul (in Chinese Baolin), a young Xaverian priest from the Congo was appointed his successor. "Fr. Paul - he says - is the ideal person to continue the work begun by Fr. Alberto. He worked and studied with him for many years and has the appropriate sensitivity to communicate with people of different religions."

 

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