Vatican City, Jan 29, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Speaking to the new ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan,) Chou-seng Tou, Pope John Paul remarked in English that “the religious and cultural traditions of the Republic of China bear witness to the fact that human development should not be limited to economic or material success”.
“Many of the ascetical and mystical elements of Asian religions teach that it is not the acquirement of material wealth which defines the progress of individuals and societies, but rather a civilization's ability to foster the interior dimension and transcendent vocation of men and women,” the Pope also said.
John Paul II affirmed that “the good of society entails that the right to religious freedom be enshrined in law and be given effective protection. The Republic of China (Taiwan) has shown its respect for the various religious traditions found therein and recognizes the right of all to practice their religion”.
“Religions are a component in the life and culture of a nation and bring a great sense of well-being to a community by offering a certain level of social order, tranquility, harmony and assistance to the weak and the outcast.”