TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Pope Francis has received a delegation of monks from the United Association of Humanistic Buddhism of Taiwan, a rare interfaith meeting to promote cultural exchanges and world peace.
In a news article published by the Vatican’s website, the visiting delegation was referred to as coming from “Taiwan.” This is a nod to the continued diplomatic relationship between the two sovereignties.
Referencing global warming and warfare, Pope Francis said it is more important than ever for religious groups to foster fraternity and encounter other cultures to promote education. He said this was especially important for young people, per Vatican News.
Engaging in interreligious dialogue at the Vatican. (Embassy of Taiwan to Holy See photo)
“An interreligious educational pilgrimage can be a source of great enrichment, offering multiple opportunities for us to encounter one another, to learn from one another and to appreciate our various experiences,” said Pope Francis.
The head of the Taiwan delegation, Fo Guang Shan Abbot Hsin Bau (心保) presented the pope with two portraits. Hsin Bau hoped religious exchanges between Taiwan and the Vatican could promote tolerance and harmony between Eastern and Western religions.
The pope accepted the gifts and invited the visiting group to join together in prayers for world peace and the perseverance to resolve international conflicts and illuminate the darkness in the world.
Presenting the pope with a portrait. (Embassy of Taiwan to Holy See photo)
The pope also took the opportunity to comment on the passing of Fo Guang Shan Patriarch Master Hsing Yun (星雲), who spearheaded friendly religious exchanges between Taiwan and the Vatican.
Monks from Taiwan will later attend a Pontifical Council for Interreligious Exchange seminar hosted by the Holy See. They will also attend an exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the pope's inauguration, and visit the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas.