Dopo i discorsi dell’Amb. Lee e di Mons. Gallagher, a dieci Sacerdoti e Religiose, di varie nazionalità, sono stati consegnati attestati di encomio e di gratitudine per i decenni del loro servizio missionario a Taiwan. A termine del Concerto, di arie celebri sacre e di musiche tradizionali taiwanesi, il Cardinale Giovan Battista Re ha concluso la celebrazione formulando fervidi auguri per Taiwan e per il continuo sviluppo della collaborazione con la Santa Sede e la Chiesa Cattolica.
Ambasciatore della Repubblica di Cina (Taiwan) presso la Santa Sede, Matthew Lee:
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Buongiorno!
It’s my great honour to welcome all of you to attend today’s ceremony. In celebration of our 106th National Day, I would like to highlight the advancements that we continue to achieve. Taiwan is the 18th largest trading and the 11th freest economy. In addition, Taiwan ranks 5th in the world in terms of private wealth per person, and enjoys about 3% of economic growth. Internationally, even though the United Nations has pledged that “no one will be left behind,” in reality, they continue to leave 23 millions people of Taiwan behind. Despite that, we keep honouring our international commitments, such as carrying out humanitarian projects and undertaking efforts to protect the environment. Regarding Cross-Strait relations, while it’s not perfect, we are probably doing better than you would imagine. We remain steadfast in the following principles for peaceful engagement with Mainland China: not change our pledge, not change our goodwill, never bow to pressure, and not revert to the old path of confrontation. Our purpose is not only to maintain regional stability and peace, but also to encourage Mainland China to earn a position as a respectable superpower. Today we are also celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Holy See. We deeply cherish our friendship with the Holy See and our ties have been marked by a close and ever-growing partnership, reflected in our humanitarian projects, cultural exchanges, education programs, interreligious dialogue, mutual visits, promoting Catholic international conferences, anti-money laundering initiatives, anti-human-trafficking commitments, a role as the “Bridge Church,” and our dedication to protecting the environment. I am confident that the long history of collaboration could become a solid bedrock encouraging continued close cooperation and enhanced diplomatic relations between these two small, but mighty countries. Not only is this in line with the core values both countries uphold, but it will also bring us closer to our vision for religious freedom and world peace. Peace is particularly important in today’s world. His Holiness Pope Francis has made clear that “Peace involves work, it is not about staying calm and doing nothing.” To honour these words, I hope today’s event will also do a part in promoting peace.
As the Bible tells us, “Be thankful in all circumstances,” and peace will come. As the ancient philosopher Confucius said, “When music and courtesy are better understood and appreciated, there will be peace.” To echo these sentiments, we will first practice gratitude today and show our deep appreciation for the Catholic missionaries’ contributions in Taiwan. Then we will together enjoy music performed by some extraordinary musicians. In conclusion, I would like to praise H.E. Archbishop Gallagher’s good words at the UN General Assembly calling for peace. Taiwan is exactly on the same line and direction for building peace and harmony among all people. Let’s do our part. Thank-you!
Segretario per i Rapporti con gli Stati della Santa Sede, Mons. Paul Richard Gallagher:
Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It was with pleasure that I have accepted Ambassador Lee’s kind invitation to take part in the annual National Day of the Republic of China. This year’s celebration is special, because it coincides with the anniversary of the establishment in March 1942 of diplomatic relations, at the level of Legation and Apostolic Inter-Nunciature. On the following 25 February 1943 Mr Chéou-Kang Sié presented his Credential Letters as Minister of the Republic of China to the Holy See. Since then, certainly, many things have changed in the world and in the international community, but the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the Holy See and China has never waned. I am thinking, in particular, of the presence in Taiwan of so many priests and religious men and women, including many missionaries, who over many years with joy have faithfully proclaimed and witnessed to the Gospel, the true treasure of the Church. Some of these will fine persons shortly receive a public recognition. You will permit me to recall that this year also the Taiwanese Church celebrates fifty years of its own Episcopal Conference, known today as the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, the Constitutive Session of which took place on 11 and 12 April 1967. In reality, as we know, the Catholic presence on the island of Formosa has much more ancient roots: we need only think of the first work of evangelization, which was formally undertaken in 1626.
Here I wish to thank the Bishops and the entire Taiwanese Catholic community for their faithful attachment to the Apostolic See and for the commendable work of evangelization and human promotion and development carried out in the course of the centuries. Today too, the Holy See continues to follow with particular attention the journey of the Church in Taiwan. Thus, from the initial evangelical thrust, there developed, with God’s help, a myriad of projects of cooperation between the civil sphere and the ecclesial one in the various areas of social and cultural life. In this regard, I wish to draw attention to the common initiatives for healthcare and medical research: a few days ago, the new hospital of the Fu Jen University in Taipei was inaugurated. I am no less pleased to note what has been achieved by this cooperation in the areas of education, scientiﬁc research and cultural promotion, as well as the different initiatives for humanitarian cooperation, often developed in crisis situations. Returning to 1942 brings to mind the immeasurable destruction caused by the Second World War and, more generally, the uselessness of war itself as an instrument for the resolution of international controversies. However, returning to that historical period can also help us to grasp the desire springing up from the hearts of so many people, in every part of the world, for peace and for a more just and fraternal future. As Pope Francis reminded us last Sunday, at his meeting with the university students of Bologna, it is still important today “to dissociate ourselves from the so-called ‘reasons for war”’, because, the Pope continued, “history teaches that war is always nothing other than a useless slaughter”. Mr Ambassador, in renewing to you and all the people of Taiwan our best wishes for this happy occasion, I can assure you that the Holy See will continue to be your committed partner within the family of peoples, supporting every initiative that contributes to dialogue, promotes a true culture of encounter and constructs bridges of brotherhood and peace for the good of all. Thank you.