Vatican City, Oct 15, 2018 / 13:00 pm
Taiwan’s government has issued a second invitation for Pope Francis to visit the country, a move which follows new developments in the Holy See’s relations with its rival in mainland China.
The country’s vice president Chen Chien-jen made the invitation during an audience with the Pope ahead of the Sunday canonization of his predecessor, Pope Paul VI.
The Pope “indicated that he would pray for Taiwan” and asked Chen to convey his greetings to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Chen told reporters. He said that the Pope smiled when he was invited to visit Taiwan. Chen, who is Catholic, visited the Vatican for the 2016 canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Responding to news of the invitation, President Tsai said in a Facebook page post “I want to thank the pope for his greetings and blessings.”
“We will use active and concrete actions to continue to support the pope and the Vatican to spread common values of freedom, justice, peace and caring to every corner in the world,” she said.
This is the second invitation from Taiwanese political leaders to the Pope.
In September 2017, President Tsai officially forwarded Pope Francis an invitation to visit the country by way of Cardinal Peter Turkson, who was in Taiwan for the International Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea.
There are about 300,000 Catholics in Taiwan, about two percent of the population.