By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The President of the Bao'An Gong temple, Liao Wu-jyh, spoke on behalf of the members of his delegation and presented Pope Francis with a joint declaration bearing his signature and that of the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Miguel Ayuso.
Seven common goals
Mr Wu-jyh said that the declaration demonstrates the “determination of the Taipei Bao’An temple to join hands with the Holy See” in order to achieve the 7 goals listed in it. He added that the most important of these goals is the last one which seeks “to promote and safeguard universal values, namely, justice, peace, solidarity, friendship, freedom, and religious harmony.” Mr Wu-jyh concluded his remarks with an invitation to the Holy Father to Taiwan “to see and understand Taiwan and its people first hand—and let us pray for you.”
We are all searching for the Absolute
Responding to Mr Wu-jyh’s presentation, Pope Francis thanked him for his words, and for the invitation to visit Taiwan. The Pope said that he is pleased that their dialogue with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is not only about ideas. “it is a human dialogue, person to person, that helps everyone to grow, to grow as persons, on our road in the search for the Absolute, for God,” Pope Francis said.
Advocating justice and building peace through interreligious dialogue
Since October 2016, members of the Taipei based Bao’An Gong temple have been in dialogue with the Catholic Church through the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference in Taiwan. A spokesperson for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue characterized this dialogue as one that has created bonds of friendship and cooperation as each of the participants has grown in their knowledge of the other’s religion. He said that the visit to the Vatican on the part of the Taoist delegation is significant and “marks a milestone in the relationship.” He added that both sides in the dialogue hope to be “advocates of justice and to be builders of peace…. Through interreligious dialogue and cooperation we can help safeguard human dignity and promote the betterment of the human family."