Taiwan officials visits Vatican council in charge of charity
Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) Control Yuan Vice President Sun Ta-chuan visited the Vatican organization responsible for the Catholic Church's charitable initiatives on Wednesday to learn about its humanitarian diplomacy practices.
Sun and Pao Tsung-ho, another Control Yuan member, made the visit to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum accompanied by Republic of China (Taiwan) Ambassador to the Vatican Mattew S. M. Lee.
They were welcomed by Monsignor Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of the pontifical council, according to the ROC Embassy at the Holy See.
During their talks, Pao asked about the Vatican's future direction in handling humanitarian aid and learned that it will merge four departments into one next year to better handle refugee issues.
The move was made in response to the serious refugee problems caused by wars in Syria and the Middle East as well as climate change, Dal Toso said, adding that refugee problems are closely linked with humanitarian relief.
According to the embassy, Dal Toso thanked the ROC government for always answering his council's appeals for funding in humanitarian relief efforts and joining its international humanitarian aid activities whenever countries are devastated by major disasters.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum was established by Pope Paul VI in July 1971 as the Holy See's department for human and Christian development. Its mission is to carry out the Pope's humanitarian aid to countries suffering from poverty and natural disasters.
The term of Cor Unum (one heart) expresses "the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ."
During the meeting, Sun, a Catholic himself, spoke of the predicament facing Taiwanese Catholics, saying the number of Catholics in Taiwan was on the decline and that there were fewer Taiwanese students studying theology in Rome.
Dal Toso replied that the decline in the Catholic population was occurring not only in Taiwan but also in Europe, and he said the Holy See needed to figure out how to draw young people to the Church, the ROC embassy related.
The embassy noted that the pontifical official showed interest in how the Control Yuan works.
The Control Yuan is a branch of government in charge of investigating questionable behavior by public servants and public agencies, and it has the power to impeach, censure, and audit public officials.
Sun explained that Control Yuan members' jobs include accepting people's appeals, investigating allegations of improper practices by public servants and helping to correct government flaws and improve government efficiency.
After the meeting, the Taiwanese delegation then visited the Secretariat of State to meet with Antoine Camilleri, deputy foreign minister of the Holy See.
The Control Yuan delegation, headed by Sun, departed from Taiwan for the Vatican on Tuesday for a four-day visit aimed at gaining a better understanding of the Vatican's promotion of humanitarian diplomacy.
The Vatican is Taiwan's only formal diplomatic ally in Europe. (Courtesy of CNA)