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New Taipei archbishop commits to evangelization

The Church and politics are like parallel tracks of a railroad, says Archbishop Thomas Chung

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Updated: May 26, 2020 10:58 AM GMT
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New Taipei archbishop commits to evangelization

New Archbishop Thomas Chung An-Zu of Taipei (left) with Divine Word Archbishop John Hung Shan-Chuan, who retired as archbishop of Taipei, at a meeting on May 25. (Photo supplied) 

The new archbishop of Taipei, based in Taiwan's capital, has committed himself to listen to different views as his way of stressing evangelization.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Thomas Chung An-Zu as archbishop of Taipei on May 23, transferring him from Chiayi Diocese in Taiwan.

Archbishop Chung said he plans to take charge of Taipei Archdiocese on July 18. He would then visit all its 10 deaneries and talk with priests, seminarians, nuns and parishioners.

"What they think is the most important thing in the archdiocese right now, I want to listen to them first, and then I will promote evangelization," he told UCA News on May 25.

The Vatican announcement also said that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Divine Word Archbishop John Hung Shan-Chuan as the head Catholic in Taipei.

Father Otfried Chan, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Taiwan, told UCA News that Archbishop Hung had resigned some six months ago. But it did not take effect until a new archbishop was announced.

However, until Archbishop Chung takes office on July 18, Archbishop Hung will remain in charge of Taipei Archdiocese.

Faced with a complex social environment, Archbishop Chung said there are several issues he may not be familiar with and "needs help from other greater talents in the Church."

"I would invite experts from various fields and seek their advice on respective fields," he said.

He also wanted greater lay involvement in the Church. "Some laypeople know a lot about politics, let them care about politics. The cooperation of all is based on the ability of the people," he said

Archbishop Chung also said the Church and politics are like two parallel tracks of a railroad. "Politics seeks the happiness of the people in the present, and the Church seeks the spiritual and future happiness of the people. The two should complement each other and help each other," he said.

For the Church, evangelization is more important than politics. "I would encourage parishioners to get into politics and, of course, be clear about where we, the Church, are headed," he said.

Archbishop Chung said the Church's prime concern is evangelization. "The Church is to evangelize. If something in politics becomes inconsistent with the doctrine, the Church will try to bring it up with the help of laity in politics," he said.

"The Church will not be very close to the government or very far from it. We have our own goals," he said.

Archbishop Chung was born in Yunlin County in 1952 and was ordained in the Diocese of Tainan in 1981. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from Rome.

In 2006, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Taipei and later made bishop of Chiayi in 2008.

He has served as secretary-general of the Diocese of Tainan, board member of Fu Jen University an rector of Taiwan Regional Seminary. He was made a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2016.

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