ucanews.com reporters, Hong Kong
Updated: June 19, 2018 08:07 AM GMT
St. Joseph's Church of Chiaohsi village of Ilan County in Taiwan before it was demolished. (Photo supplied)
Chiaoshi St. Joseph's Church in Taiwan, listed by the government as a historic building late last year, was demolished by local Catholics on June 6 on the grounds that it was not worthy of being preserved.
Local historical conservationists had applied to the Cultural Affairs Bureau in May last year to ensure preservation of the unused church, which is located in Chiaohsi village of Ilan County.
However, in November the Ilan County Cultural Resources Review Committee, on the basis of insufficient information, only issued a provisional 'historic site' approval that expired at the end of April.
Before authorities could renew the protection order, the church was destroyed by members of the church's congregation after church officials from the Congregation of the Mission (CM) made the decision to have it demolished.
Father Bintoro Yohanes Kusno, CM's former provincial superior, told ucanews.com he didn't agree that the church should have been classed as a historic monument. The church was only 55 years old and it did not have any distinctive architectural design values, he said.
He added that structural cracks in the structure would have been too expensive to repair.
Father Kusno said that government preservation policies were inhibiting the church from building a center that would be designed for local handicapped children and their families.
The Ilan County government issued a media release on June 6 stating that the congregation had violated the law by not applying for a demolition permit.
However, county officials noted that the maximum penalty in local Taiwanese dollars was only equivalent to a US$100 fine. The demolition has upset the local historical conservation group.
The church had not been used in two years and the other buildings that make up the complex — offices, dormitories, a kindergarten and a rehabilitation hospital — have not been used for around a decade.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.