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Vatican may join Taiwan book fair

Papal envoy hints at interest in Asia's biggest publishing exhibition

Monsignor Paul Russell (right), papal representative in Taiwan, blesses the Catholic booth with Archbishop John Hung of Taipei Monsignor Paul Russell (right), papal representative in Taiwan, blesses the Catholic booth with Archbishop John Hung of Taipei
  • Francis Kuo, Taipei
  • Taiwan
  • February 18, 2011
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A papal representative in Taiwan has told Catholics who attended Asia’s largest book fair that there is a chance of Vatican participation in the future.

During a visit to the recent Taipei International Book Exhibition to bless the Catholic booth, Monsignor Paul Russell, the papal representative in Taiwan, said he did not rule out the chance of the Vatican participation at next year’s event.

A lay leader from the National Council of the Lay Apostolate in Taiwan said Vatican participation would encourage local faithful to improve their faith and attract more Taiwanese to know Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Local Catholic publishers and Church organizations will give strong substantial support to make the Holy See the best country booth if it is to join next year, the lay leader added.

It is good for the Church to be present and to bring the message of Jesus Christ to where people gather in large numbers, but he would have to see what Holy See authorities think about the idea because it does not usually participate in commercial fairs, Monsignor Russell said.

He would also have to know how much it would cost and who would pay for it, he added.

However, he affirmed that it is very important “to make good and correct sources of information available” and that “answering people’s questions with the correct answer is a work of love, a way of evangelizing.”

According to organizers, more than 560,000 people visited the fair which ended this week. The fair showcased Bhutan as the theme country. More than 300 Bhutanese publications and three of the Buddhist country’s national treasures, including a 12th century Buddhist classic and a 17th century manuscript, were on display.

“Spiritual ecology” was the theme of the Catholic booth comprised of nine Church-run publishers.
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