Tue, Sep 06, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan, Holy See have an ‘alliance of love’: vice president

Staff writer, with CNA

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) on Sunday said that the government would continue to strengthen its rapport with the Holy See, describing the relationship between the two nations as “an alliance of love and core values.”

The Holy See is an important ally that has maintained diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (ROC) for 74 years, and both nations are committed to freedom of religion, compassion and kindness, and emphasize the importance of democracy, freedom, human rights and humanitarianism, Chen said during a dinner with Taiwanese clergy and expatriates in Rome.

The nation will continue to cooperate with the Vatican to promote the universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights and altruism around the world, and deepen their partnership on humanitarian and charitable efforts, he said.

Chen, who attended the canonization ceremony of Mother Teresa earlier that day, said Mother Teresa had a deep and strong connection with Taiwan during her lifetime.

Mother Teresa sent nuns from her Missionaries of Charity to set up a nursing home for elderly people in Tainan in 1984 and visited Taiwan the following year, when she was received by then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), he said.

Chen said the government’s top priority is to provide welfare to impoverished and disadvantaged people, and this has been reflected in the policies of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration.

Separately on Sunday, in a brief meeting with Chen that lasted for about two minutes before the Mass to canonize Mother Teresa, Pope Francis told Chen that he would pray for the people of Taiwan.

Chen invited the pope to visit the nation and sent Tsai’s regards to Francis. He also presented him with a book on late Argentine priest Ricardo Ferreira, who devoted nearly half a century of his life to serving the people of Taiwan, including 25 years in Kinmen County.

Chen also presented a documentary about Pope Francis to the pope.

Pope Francis was touched by the book, saying Father Ferreira was his mentor and he still misses him. Both Pope Francis and Father Ferreira were Argentine Jesuits.

After 50 years of service, Ferreira died of cancer in Taiwan in June 2006 at the age of 80.

“I will pray for the Taiwanese people and please pray for me,” Pope Francis said.

The vice president, who is a Catholic, said he prays for Taiwan, the pope and world peace every day.

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