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Religious freedom wins Pope support for Taiwan

Arguing that proper development requires religious freedom, Pope John Paul II has used an audience with Taiwan's new ambassador to the Holy See to praise the government of the land the People's Republic of China regards as a renegade province.

At Friday's meeting, Ambassador Chou-seng Tou said Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian "was deeply moved and inspired" after reading the Pope's message for the 2004 World Day of Peace.

The Pope told the Ambassador: "The religious and cultural traditions of the Republic of China bear witness to the fact that human development should not be limited to economic or material success.

"Many of the ascetical and mystical elements of Asian religions teach that it is not the acquirement of material wealth which defines the progress of individuals and societies, but rather a civilization's ability to foster the interior dimension and transcendent vocation of men and women," he said.

The PIME missionary news site commented that the Holy Father seemed intent upon "highlighting all that the Church wants from the People's Republic of China."

Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II has said that natural family planning responds not merely to the natural rhythms of the body, but also to the "truth about the human person, in the intimate unity of spirit, mind, and body."

He said resistance to natural family planning is strong due to a culture that "on one hand seems to be threatened by responsible procreation, and on the other hand wants to dominate and manipulate life."

In order to broaden public understanding of natural family planning, the Pope said educators must overcome "mystifications, very often amplified by a sort of propaganda" on the topic. He suggested that NFP might be most effectively taught through "a sort of capillary action", with one couple passing along the information to another.

Pope: Dear Taiwan, Dear China (AsiaNews 30/1/04)
Genuine Development Demands Religious Freedom, Says Pope (Zenit 30/1/04)
Pope encourages NFP education (Catholic World News 30/1/04)

Pope praises Taiwan for religious freedom (Catholic World News 30/1/04)
Christian and Chinese values to renew society (AsiaNews/UCAN 30/1/04)
Pope Warns of False Ideas About Natural Regulation of Fertility (Zenit 30/1/04)

2 Feb 2004