Taiwan sends congratulations to new pope
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday congratulated Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio on becoming Pope Francis, adding that the longstanding friendship between the Republic of China and the Holy See will continue to grow under the leadership of the new pope.
March 15, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
In a message released by the Presidential Office yesterday, Ma extended congratulations to Pope Francis on his assumption of the papacy on behalf of the R.O.C. government and its people.
“The R.O.C. government wished Pope Francis a long and blessed Pontificate, which will allow His Holiness to lead the Catholic Church and all human beings to promote peace, defend social justice and seek the welfare of people around the world,” the message read.
The R.O.C. and the Holy See have enjoyed formal diplomatic relations for 71 years since 1942, Ma said. The two sides share common values on peace, social justice and benevolence.
He said he hopes the longstanding friendship between the two sides can continue to grow under the new pope, adding that Taiwan will continue in its role as a peacekeeper and humanitarian aid provider in the global community.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday in Taipei that the ministry will be sending a delegation to the inauguration Mass of the new pope in the Vatican City.
The members of the delegation will be announced soon, he added.
At the previous inaugural Mass in 2005, Taiwan sent then Interior Minister Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Deputy Foreign Minister Ouyang Jiahsiung (歐陽瑞雄) and ambassador to the Holy See, Tou Chou-seng (杜筑生).
Friendship to Grow
Commenting on the news from the Vatican, Monsignor Paul Russell, the Holy See's top envoy to Taiwan, said yesterday that Pope Francis is a faithful and humble person.
“He lives in a very simple way and even cooks for himself,” he noted.
Asked about future bilateral ties, Russell said the Holy See and the R.O.C. government have had stable relations for over seven decades.
“We are longtime friends and we share many common values, including love for peace, respect for human rights and an appreciation for democratic values,” he added.
“I am confident that we will go forward in our relationship,” he noted.
The new pope will be the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis, 76, had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
He is also the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years and the first member of the Jesuit order to lead the church.