Saturday, May 13, 2006

Taiwanese ambassador to the Vatican converts

The percentage of Christians in the overall population of Asia is still relatively small. That is a major reason why it is looked upon by many in the Church as the last great frontier in evangelization.

Although there is in every conversion something that is unique and unrepeatable, there are also commonalities that we can learn from, especially when we are seeking to proclaim the faith in a culture as distinct as that as in China.

And so this interview with Chou Seng Tou, the ambassador of Taiwan to the Vatican, following his recent conversion to Cathoicism, might be instructive. In any case, it is interesting to hear this one man's story of his journey into the Church.


What is there in the Christian faith that is missing from Chinese culture that made you convert and get baptised?

I did not adhere to any religion before. Like many Chinese I followed Confucian precepts. I can say I am a disciple of Confucius who has become Christian. I have studied Confucius quite a lot, learnt how to be a good man, morally upright, respectful of others . . . He, too, like in the Gospels, said: “Go unto others as you would have them do unto you”. On many levels, Confucianism and Christianity have many things in common. If China gave Christianity freedom, many Chinese would convert. But in Christianity there is something unique. When you pray for example, you establish a personal rapport with God, one of closeness to Jesus. In Chinese culture there is silence, meditation, but it is a rapport with oneself, not God. Through praying, saintly intercession and that of the Holy Mother, one can realise one’s wish for holiness. Man’s moral solitude comes to an end.

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