Vatican still wants to appoint bishops in China, says Taiwan Archbishop

Archbishop Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei said that he believed that the Vatican would keep communicating with Beijing.

After the deadlock with China in March on a possible deal on appointing bishops, the Vatican will not abandon its right to appoint Bishops in China, according to the Catholic Church in Taiwan.
Archbishop Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei said that he believed that the Vatican would keep communicating with Beijing.
Hunga said: “It’s because the Holy See looks forward to seeing religious freedom there.”
Hung and six other Taiwanese bishops just returned from Rome for a so-called “ad limina’’ visit on May 14.
“The Vatican will still stand its ground firmly that bishops are appointed by the Pope,’’ Hung said, implying the existence of difficulties in reaching a deal.
China has insisted that no foreign force will be allowed to intervene in its domestic affairs, Hung said.
He asked: “Do you see the contradiction between religious freedom and communism?’’
The Holy See and China cut formal relations in 1951, when the pope’s representative was expelled.
The Vatican later recognised Taiwan and maintained diplomatic ties with the self-governing democracy.
For decades, Chinese pressure has kept Taiwan marginalised in the international community.
Hung said: “I told the pope that the Taiwanese people feel like an international orphan and he clearly knows Taiwan’s situation.
“The pope assured us that he would never give us up. A good shepherd will never leave his sheep.’’
Currently, there are about 300,000 Catholics in Taiwan out of a total population of over 23 million.
Freedom of religion in Taiwan is provided for by the Constitution.
Hung also invited Pope Francis to Taiwan to attend the Eucharistic Congress to be held next March.
No pope had previously visited Taiwan.
Hung said the pope should not have any scruples about visiting Taiwan because Taiwan is not part of China.
He said: “We hope the Vatican clearly knows that Taiwan and China are two independent entities.’’
The Pope also knows underground Catholics in China had already endured decades of government suppression, Hung said.
Taiwan has had a separate government since Chinese nationalists fled there in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists in China.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory.
The politically isolated nation now has only 19 formal diplomatic relationships.