11/16/2012, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Archbishop of Taipei: A new evangelization for Taiwan

Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan, talks to AsiaNews about the challenges facing his Church in the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope: "This is a rich country, where many believe they can buy anything. They do not understand that their inner emptiness can only be filled by Christ. We are grateful to the Pope for the enormous motivation and continuous support”. Relations with other churches, the crisis of vocations and a personal memory of the late Cardinal Shan.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - Materialism and nihilism "affect Asia just like the rest of the world. And Taiwan is a rich country, where many think they can buy everything. This Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI is a challenge but also a strong motivation for all of us, bishops, priests, religious and faithful", says Msgr. John Hung Shan-chuan, Archbishop of Taipei and president of the Regional Episcopal Conference of China.  The prelate spoke to AsiaNews about how his community is following this year, which is so special for the universal Church.

Taiwan has just under 23 million people, of which 300 thousand are Catholics.  Added to these are a further 100 thousand Filipino immigrants, who are "very present in the life of the community. Ours is a Church that may seem small but it is not. In the footsteps of the late and lamented Cardinal Shan, we are encouraging our people to be more active and more involved in the life of the nation and their environments. Catholic values, as the Pope has explained many times, are a resource for everyone, not just for the faithful. "

However, Taiwan has some weaknesses: "Thank God we can say that we live in a prosperous nation. But this can be a disadvantage from the spiritual point of view, at least for those who think that material goods are the answer to everything: they buy and buy, and do not realize that the void they feel inside is their desire for immortality. A desire that only Christ can fill. "

In the light of this situation, "we need a clergy and a community ready to welcome people. Earlier this week [November 12th ed] I met my priests: I told them they can not simply remain closed inside their churches or parishes, but have to go out among the people and encourage them to question their own needs and their own conscience. Inspired by the Year of Faith and the example of the Pope, they have responded with enthusiasm, but is not enough: So I am launching a number of challenges to the whole community. Next year, for example, a popular parish of Taipei celebrates its 60th anniversary: so I asked the pastor 60 new adult baptisms to celebrate the event. "

Similarly, the bishop considers it important to have a direct approach to cultivating vocations: "I always say that no one here, except for very rare cases, enters the church, asks for the priest and tells him that he wants to enter the seminary. Whenever I meet a promising young man from a spiritual point of view and I understand that he is thinking about this possibility, I phone him and I ask him for a meeting. This way these men will feel accompanied from the outset".

The challenges mentioned by Msgr. Hung are not helped by very high density of temples of all religions, Chinese and traditional Asian: "I have a good relationship with them, because at least they prepare the human soul for the presence of the divine. But more often I meet new faithful who tell me that they chose Catholicism because they wanted to have a relationship with God, and not merely postulants who ask for a favor. Again, however, I always repeat to everyone that our faith requires study and constancy: they must not look for easy, but empty baptisms. "

The road the Archbishop has taken was first opened Cardinal Shan, who died on August 22: "A great pastor and a man of great moral inspiration. Has opened the door to a relationship with the ruling classes of the country and showed us the way to live good and faithful lives, as good priests. He also showed us how to die: I went to see him just before he left us to return to the Father's house. He was naked under the hospital covers for technical reasons and he told me: I spent all my life dressed, even wearing important robes. Now Christ gives me his greatest grace, to allow me to die naked as a baby. I am grateful, because if we are not like children we can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. " (VFP)

 

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