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Hong Kong hosts Christian-Taoist talks

Cardinal Stephen Chow stressed the importance of joining hands at the third Christian-Taoist Dialogue
Participants at the Taoist-Christian Dialogue that began in Hong Kong on March 11.

Participants at the Taoist-Christian Dialogue that began in Hong Kong on March 11. (Photo: Vatican News)

Published: March 12, 2024 11:37 AM GMT
Updated: March 12, 2024 12:38 PM GMT

Cardinal Stephen Chow of Hong Kong stressed the importance of inter-religious collaboration in building world peace as he addressed the third conference on Christian-Taoist Dialogue.

The three-day international event that began on March 11 in Hong Kong aims to “demonstrate how religions can join hands to become constructive partners for building our society,” Chow said.

Chow expressed hope that the recognition of this shared spirit of service would help “the value and meaning of religion [to be] better appreciated in China,”  the Vatican News reported on March 11.

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue organized the conference jointly with the Hong Kong Diocese and the Hong Kong Taoist Association. Cultivating a harmonious society through interreligious dialogue is the conference theme.

“The vision of the Taoist religion is to foster a movement…toward peace and unity, where humanity and the Way – we would say the ‘Logos’ – are connected,” the 64-year-old cardinal told the conference.

Sri Lankan Archbishop Indunil Janakaratne Kankanamalage, secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, stressed the importance of dialogue among religions and people in today’s world.

“As we all know, we live in a very difficult time. There is a lack of hope, frustration,” Kankanamalage said.

“Meetings like this, therefore, communicate a symbolic message to the world, that dialogue is possible, and we can sit together and discuss, work together, and walk together,” he added.

Kankanamalage said the ongoing meeting has the potential to “contribute not only to Hong Kong but also to the wider world.”

Christian and Taoist believers and scholars from different countries, including Hong Kong, China, France, Italy, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore are invited to the conference.

Chow said 16th-century Jesuit missioner Father Matteo Ricci, known for his knowledge of the Chinese language and culture, was a model of dialogue.

Ricci was “the role model for dialoguing between religion and culture, integrating the spiritualities of the Confucians, Buddhists, and Taoists with our Catholic faith and spirituality,” he said.

“This has won much praise and respect from the Chinese people and the Chinese government,” Chow emphasized at the conference.

The Vatican dicastery said that the conference would provide both Christians and Taoists a platform “to deepen their mutual understanding, to fathom how disharmony generates pain and suffering, and also to work together to heal today’s fragmented world.”

Earlier, another international seminar on Christian-Confucian dialogue was held in New Taipei,Taiwan, from March 8 to 9, the dicastery statement said.

Themed "Christians for Dialogue with Confucians: Recommendations and Perspectives," the conference was organized in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University located in Hsinchuang.

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