With Freedom, Church Can Work, Says Pope

Lauds Taiwanese Respect for Religious Rights

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Religious groups contribute to a just society based on human dignity, and countries that respect religious freedom enable the Church to work toward this task, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today when he received in audience Wang Larry Yu-yuan, Taiwan’s new ambassador to the Holy See. Through the ambassador, the Holy Father sent greetings to the newly elected president of the republic, Ying-jeou Ma, elected last March as the first Catholic to hold this position.

The Pontiff affirmed the country’s sense of belonging to a “world community,” expressed “in the generosity with which aid and emergency relief is supplied to poorer nations.”

He added that Catholics in Taiwan are “eager to play their part in building up a society that is humane, just and marked by genuine concern for the welfare of the weaker members of the community. It is part of the Church’s mission to share her ‘expertise in humanity’ with all people of good will in order to contribute to the well-being of the human family.”

Benedict XVI lauded the government’s commitment to freedom of religion, which enables the Church “to carry out her mission of love and service, and to express herself openly through worship and the proclamation of the Gospel.”

He expressed a hope for fruitful interreligious dialogue, nurtured by the “religious vitality and capacity for renewal among the peoples of Asia” as well as the consciousness of shared bonds of a common human nature that transcends cultural diversity.

“Such growth in mutual understanding offers a much-needed service to society at large,» the Holy Father continued. «By bearing clear witness to those moral truths which they hold in common with all men and women of good will, religious groups […] exert a positive influence on the wider culture.»

The Pontiff spoke in favor of dialogue in order to resolve “conflicts that threaten the stability of our world.” In particular, he added, “the Holy See welcomes the recent positive developments in relations between Taiwan and mainland China. […] She wishes to support the efforts of governments to become staunch champions of human dignity and courageous builders of peace.”

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