Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Vatican renews focus on Taiwan
Renewed interest raises political and hierarchical questions
- Francis Kuo, Taipei
- December 21, 2011
In the wake of recent visits by two Vatican officials just weeks before presidential elections, scheduled for January 14, relations seem to have taken a more high-profile turn.
Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, made nearly overlapping visits to Taiwan earlier this month.
Other Catholic hierarchs have also made recent visits to the island, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, and Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau.
And last month, the Pontifical Urban University in Rome co-hosted a seminar on Taiwan with the Chinese embassy to the Holy See.
What has occurred to make Taiwan the focus of such attention by Rome?
Is it an attempt by the ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) to strengthen bonds with the Vatican, the only European state that maintains diplomatic ties with Taiwan, to garner support from the island's 260,000 Catholics? Or is it perhaps that the forthcoming election has piqued Romeâ€™s interest?
What seems clear is that the visit by Vatican officials had other aims apart from a meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou.
During his visit from November 30 to December 5, Cardinal Grocholewski signed a historic agreement of cooperation with the Taiwan government on higher education, participated in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Fu Jen Catholic University and inaugurated a new stadium at Provident University in Taichung.
Meanwhile, Fu Jen university conferred an honorary degree to Archbishop Hon, who was appointed secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome last December, in part as recognition for his contributions in teaching theology for many years in mainland China.
It is customary in diplomatic practice for Vatican officials visiting Taiwan to be briefed on developments in politics and in the local Church.
With the presence of Church leaders from Hong Kong and Macau, itâ€™s likely that some discussion took place about events across the Taiwan Straits and about the impact of political leadership changes on the Catholic Church.
Whatever the reasons behind the Vatican's recent interest in Taiwan, a common biblical metaphor might serve as the foundation for additional speculation.
The Vatican has given the Taiwan Church five â€śtalents,â€ť which include the education agreement whereby Fu Jen university has been positioned to train more Chinese theologians by securing recognition by the Taiwan government, along with more than 150 pontifical universities worldwide.
Under the agreement, titles and degrees granted by the faculty of theology â€“ the only pontifical university serving Chinese Catholic communities â€“ will finally be recognized locally.
The local Church has thereby been encouraged to reduce the threat of secularization, to use modern technology for evangelization, to promote religious vocations and local missionaries, and to encourage Church groups to utilize public resources for self-support.
Therefore, the Vatican anticipates the return of 10 â€śtalentsâ€ť from the Taiwan Church.
In contrast, the Vatican has also given the Church in mainland China one "talent,â€ť that of papal supremacy over the appointment of bishops. And the government-controlled Church has hid it in the ground.
It remains to be seen how the â€śmasterâ€ť in this metaphor will respond.
Fu Jen starts building new hospital
Vatican official gets honorary degree
Yibin ordains new coadjutor bishop