ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS
Saturday, 8 November 2008
I am pleased to welcome you at the start of your mission and to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of China to the Holy See. I thank you for your kind words and for the greetings you bring from President Ying-jeou Ma. Please convey to him my cordial good wishes on his recent election, as well as the assurance of my prayers for him, the first Catholic to be elected President of the Republic, and for all the people in Taiwan.
The Government in Taipei has a keen sense of belonging to a world community, a global human family. This is expressed in many ways, not least in the generosity with which aid and emergency relief is supplied to poorer nations. In this regard, your country makes a valuable contribution to the building of a more secure and stable world. The Holy See is pleased to work together with all those who seek to promote peace, prosperity and development, and appreciates the Republic of China’s commitment to that noble cause.
Although Catholics in the Republic of China represent little more than one per cent of the population, they are eager to play their part in building up a society that is humane, just, and marked by genuine concern for the welfare of the weaker members of the community. It is part of the Church’s mission to share her “expertise in humanity” with all people of good will in order to contribute to the well-being of the human family. Characteristically, it is in the fields of education, healthcare and charitable assistance that she offers this contribution. Your Government’s firm commitment to freedom of religion has made it possible for the Church to carry out her mission of love and service, and to express herself openly through worship and the proclamation of the Gospel. On behalf of all the Catholics in Taiwan, I would like to express my appreciation of this freedom that the Church enjoys.
Thanks to their “innate spiritual insight and moral wisdom” (Ecclesia in Asia, 6), there is great religious vitality and capacity for renewal among the peoples of Asia. Hence the ground is particularly fertile for interreligious dialogue to take root and grow. Asians continue to demonstrate a “natural openness to the mutual enrichment of peoples in the midst of a plurality of religions and cultures” (ibid.). How important it is in today’s world for different peoples to be able to listen to one another in an atmosphere of respect and dignity, conscious that their shared humanity is a bond far deeper than the cultural variations that seem to divide them! Such growth in mutual understanding offers a much-needed service to society at large. By bearing clear witness “to those moral truths which they hold in common with all men and women of good will, religious groups … exert a positive influence on the wider culture” (Address to Representatives of Other Religions, Washington, 17 April 2008).
Frank and constructive dialogue is also the key to the resolution of the conflicts that threaten the stability of our world. In this regard, the Holy See welcomes the recent positive developments in relations between Taiwan and mainland China. Indeed the Catholic Church is eager to promote peaceful solutions to disputes of whatever kind, “giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation” (Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 18 April, 2008). In this way, she wishes to support the efforts of Governments to become “staunch champions of human dignity and courageous builders of peace” (Message for the 2007 World Day of Peace, 16).
Your Excellency, I assure you of my good wishes and prayers for the success of the diplomatic mission which you begin today. At all times you will find that the various departments of the Roman Curia are ready to offer help and support in the fulfilment of your duties. With sentiments of sincere esteem, I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon you, your family, and all the people in Taiwan.
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