Cardinal Recalls Vietnamese Martyrs

Attends Taiwan’s 150 Years of Christianity Celebration

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TAICHUNG, Taiwan, NOV. 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As long as sin exists in the world, the Church will be a «martyr Church,» Cardinal Jozef Tomko affirmed today at the closing celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Taiwan’s evangelization.

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples was appointed by Benedict XVI as his special envoy to this celebration.

In a homily today at Mass in honor of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs, the cardinal affirmed, «Christ washes away the sin of the world, taking it upon himself, offering his life, forgiving those who kill him,» Fides reported.

He continued: «The sin of every generation is taken away, conquered by Christ who lives in Christians. As long as sin exists in the world, the Church is called to be a martyr Church.»

«Every people, every generation is ‘saved’ by its martyrs,» the cardinal said, since they participate in Christ’s salvific sacrifice.

The prelate encouraged those gathered in the church of Our Lady of Fatima in Taichung, «Every people, every generation can and should boast about its martyrs.»

«Martyrs are not simply heroic examples of fidelity, courage and perseverance in a pagan world,» he said, «they are living channels of the salvation brought by Christ.»

Cardinal Tomko affirmed that «taking the Gospel to the men and women of our day means sharing Christ’s love with every person.»

«The Gospel,» he added, «the good news of God’s love for mankind, is alive because Christians continue to allow themselves to be put to death by the sins of others.»

The cardinal urged his listeners to follow the example of these martyrs, and not «shirk our duties» as Christians in this world.

He concluded: «In the events and the vicissitudes of our day we live the mysteries of our salvation. In the celebration of the Eucharist the Church makes present the Paschal mystery of Christ, who died and is risen for us.

«Therefore the Church community, following in the footsteps of her Lord and Master, is called to persevere on the path of service, to live side by side with the men and women of our times, sharing their condition, in order to bear witness to God’s love and so spread hope.»

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