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Top mainland religious officials visit Taiwan

Taipei archbishop gives visitors a lesson in Catholic conduct

Top mainland religious officials visit Taiwan
Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan (far left) meets mainland religious leaders in Taipei (UCAN Photo)
Francis Kuo, Taipei

January 12, 2011

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A Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) official was among high-level mainland delegation which met Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, president of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, in Taipei this week. Liu Yuanlong, who was re-elected secretary-general of the CCPA at the controversial Catholic national congress in December, was one of 10 delegates from the China Committee of Religion and Peace. High-level mainland officials and religious groups are making more visits to Taiwan with the hope “to enhance understanding, harmony and peace through these kinds of exchanges, and eventually moving towards unification,” said Liu, 56, who is also a new vice chairperson of the CCPA. “The universal Church is one Church. There is no difference in faith. This normal reason [of exchange] does not touch on faith,” he told when asked to explain what he meant by "unification." “There are now many misunderstandings, which have hurt the mainland Church,” Liu said. He said it was important to have mutual understanding across the straits. In their 30-minute meeting, Archbishop Hung told the delegation that Taiwan Catholics follow the Church hierarchy and are in communion with the Holy See. The Taiwan government treats all religions equally and the religious personnel and faithful receive judicial punishment only when they violate the law, he said. Catholics have “double duties to love the Church and to love the country” while the government “does not intrude the Church’s internal affairs, such as liturgy, doctrine and personnel appointment.” He also told the delegation the greatest contribution of the local Church was service to society. It undertakes half the social work in the territory, mostly through the work of foreign missioners. The China Committee of Religion and Peace operates under the Ethnic and Religions Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top advisory body of the Chinese government. The 10 delegates were all CPPCC members. The mainland committee was formed by faithful of different religions in 1994 and is an affiliate of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. The Jan. 8-15 visit was led by Dao Shuren, vice chairman of the Chinese Buddhist Association. The group will also visit the Tainan diocese and Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, the retired bishop of Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan. The visit took place four months after Archbishop Hung and Cardinal Shan received Wang Zuo’an, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) in mainland China last September. This time the mainland delegation was invited by the Chinese Religious Faithful Association. The association was formed by late Cardinal Paul Yupin in 1943 in Chongqing (Chungking) and was reopened in Taiwan later. Related reports Unapproved bishop elected to top China job Religious official visits Taipei archbishop Exhibition forges ties between Singaporean, Chinese Catholics TA12815.1636
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