Taiwan’s former vice president Chen Chien-jen asked Pope Francis in the weekend to “pray for Taiwan” amid growing tension with China in recent weeks.
Chen met with the pontiff shortly before the beatification ceremony for John Paul I as special envoy of President Tsai Ing-wen for the event on Sunday, September 4.
A report on AsiaNews said Pope Francis supposedly replied that he was “impatient to be able to pray” for peace.
A devout Catholic, Chen is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
In a Facebook post, he said he wanted to show the world the democratic values of his country and its adherence to freedom and democracy, despite the grave challenges facing the nation.
The Holy See is one of 14 states that have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China considers a “rebel” province.
Since early August, following the visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Beijing has launched military exercises and operations around Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the Catholic community in Taiwan mourned the death of Msgr. Joseph Cheng Tsai-fa, Archbishop Emeritus of Taipei, who died on September 2 at the age of 90.
Prior to his pastoral service in the archdiocese of the Taiwanese capital between 2004 and 2007, he was bishop of Tainan and apostolic administrator of Kinmen and Matsu.