Taiwan vice president to again invite Pope Francis to visit Taiwan

Vice President Chen Chien-jen heads to Vatican to attend canonization ceremony

File photo: Chen Chien-jen meets Pope Francis, October 2018

File photo: Chen Chien-jen meets Pope Francis, October 2018 (CNA photo)

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said he will again invite Pope Francis to visit Taiwan when he attends the canonization of late British Cardinal John Henry Newman and four others on Oct. 13 in Vatican City.

The vice president made the remark at Taoyuan International Airport on Thursday evening before he departed Taiwan as the special envoy of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for the canonization, during which he is expected to meet with the pontiff.

Chen said Taiwan and the Holy See, Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, enjoy close relations and work together on humanitarian aid, preventing human trafficking and facilitating cultural and religious exchanges.

The vice president said Taiwan will go on supporting Pope Francis' work to spread the messages of religious freedom, social justice and care for the underprivileged.

Chen, a Catholic himself, added that during his visit, he will meet with Taiwanese clergymen and clergywomen serving in Vatican City and foreign clergy who used to work in Taiwan, to pay tribute to them.

On Oct. 13, Pope Francis will canonize Cardinal Newman, a 19th century British theologian; Indian Sister Mariam Thresia, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family; Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini; Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes; and Margarita Bays, a Swiss consecrated virgin of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Chen's upcoming visit to the Holy See will be his third since taking office as vice president in May 2016. He attended the canonization of Mother Teresa in September 2016 and Pope Paul VI in October 2018.

The vice president invited the Pope to visit Taiwan during his previous two visits but no plans were made, according to the press office of the Holy See.