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Mainlanders meet Taiwan cardinal for talks

Cross-straits religious relations top of the agenda

Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (second left) and Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung of Kaohsiung (far left) receive mainland religious officials led by Dao Shuren (far right) Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi (second left) and Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung of Kaohsiung (far left) receive mainland religious officials led by Dao Shuren (far right)
  • Margarita Chen, Kaohsiung
  • Taiwan
  • January 14, 2011
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A high-level mainland religious delegation met Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi and other Catholic leaders today, exchanging views on how to improve cross-straits religious relationships.

The 10-member delegation of the China Committee of Religion and Peace is on a tour of Taiwan meeting different established religions from Jan. 8-15.

They visited the cardinal at the Kaoshiung diocesan curia in southern Taiwan to enhance exchanges between religions across straits. Archbishop Peter Liu Cheng-chung of Kaohsiung, his vicar general and two lay leaders were also at the meeting

Dao Shuren, vice-chairman of the Chinese Buddhist Association who led the delegation, told the Taiwan Church leaders that economic development in recent decades has driven the development of social services in the religious sector.

The five major religions on the mainland have more than 100 millions faithful, he said.

Cardinal Shan introduced the guests to the Church’s services for the elderly and in medical care. Archbishop Liu and a layperson were appointed as consultors to the Pontifical Council of Medical Care last week.

The retired bishop of Kaohsiung also spoke of his lecture tour talking about cultural of life which he launched after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006.

“I was estimated to have three to four months left at that time and thus I began this ‘Farewell to Life’ lecture. But now, I am still on my farewell tour,” he said.

“My priority is to speak to the intellectuals, who can in turn influence others.”

The other group he wants to influence are prisoners. “The society will become stable if the prisoners could change,” said the 88-year-old cardinal.

Cardinal Shan said he and the archbishop are willing to help the mainland nuns, seminarians and priests study in Taiwan.

Seminaries lack resources and it is not easy for people to cope with language and other issues when studying abroad, the cardinal noted.

The mainland committee operates under the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top advisory body of the Chinese government.

All the delegates were religious members in the CPPCC. They include Liu Yuanlong, vice-chairperson and secretary general of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Liu invited Cardinal Shan to travel to their mutual hometown of Hebei in mainland China, which the prelate last visited in 1975.

Yesterday the delegation visited the Pingan Church museum in Tainan diocese, neighboring Kaohsiung. Bishop Bosco Lin Chi-nan of Tainan was in a monthly retreat with his priests and so there was no official reception to the visitors.

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Teacher-of-life cardinal awarded doctorate

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