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Bishops urge people to value life

Pastoral letter to be sent in September to appeal for respect for life

Taiwan bishops holding their spring plenary meeting Taiwan bishops holding their spring plenary meeting
  • Francis Kuo, Taipei
  • Taiwan
  • April 20, 2012
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The bishops’ conference of Taiwan is to issue a pastoral letter calling on the government and people to value life and say no to abortion and suicide.

The letter to be issued in September is aimed at combating “spiritual emptiness and divisions in society,” Father Otfried Chan, the conference’s secretary general, said yesterday.

“The wrong sex education derived from wrong policies encourages an open sexual attitude, while high prices and heavy debts push many people to suicide,” he added.

The bishops have also decided to promote devotion to Saint Gianna, patron of unborn children, to encourage people not to have abortions or reject life.

According to the Department of Health, around 240,000 women have had an abortion or used abortion-inducing drugs during each of the past three years.

A civil group estimates the actual number could be as many as 500,000 a year, including operations in back-street “clinics.”

Eight of the island’s bishops gathered at the conference’s new headquarters last week to set out plans for the Year of Faith, which has been declared by Pope Benedict XVI to begin in October.

The three-day plenary meeting also decided to establish a “married diaconal system” with Taipei archdiocese being the pilot before expanding it to six other dioceses.

A married diaconal system is where only married laymen can be ordained as deacons.

More laypeople are studying theology nowadays so the time is ripe to establish the system to resolve problems of ageing clergy and lack of vocations, said Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei.

During the meeting, Archbishop Hung was re-elected president of the bishops’ conference for another four-year term and Archbishop Peter Liu Chen-chung of Kaohsiung became vice-president.



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