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Cablegate: Congressman Kennedy and Vatican Representative In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TAIPEI 002553

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/TC, H-LMO Peter Su
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO AIT/W

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP PHUM PREL CH TW TIP
SUBJECT: Congressman Kennedy and Vatican Representative in
Taiwan Discuss Cross-Strait Religious Issues

1. (SBU) Congressman Mark Kennedy (R-MN) met with Apostolic
Nunciature Charge D'affaires Monsignor Ambrose Madtha on
June 6, 2005. Madtha estimated there were currently
300,000 Catholics in Taiwan and 5-10 new priests came out of
Taiwan's seminaries every year. Growth of the Catholic
population in Taiwan has been fairly slow, but the Church
has not been involved in active evangelization. Madtha
stated there were 16 million Catholics in Mainland China, 12
million of whom were practicing underground. When asked
about the Catholic Church's position in the Mainland, Madtha
replied that the Vatican had had some problems with Beijing.
The most problematic issue had been Beijing's insistence on
choosing its own bishops, an "internal issue" in the eyes of
the PRC government. Pope John Paul II's canonization of
Chinese martyrs on October 1, 2000 also caused a severe rift
in bilateral relations

2. (SBU) Congressman Kennedy asked about rumors that the
Vatican might shift diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to
the PRC and how such a shift would affect relations with
Taiwan. Madtha asserted that these rumors were unfounded
and that he personally had not heard of any changes to come.
He also stated that even if a shift occurred, relations with
Taiwan would not change much, because the Vatican valued
Taiwan's respect for freedom of religion.

3. (U) Congressman Kennedy's office has cleared this
message.

PAAL

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