Taipei (AsiaNews) - Taiwanese authorities have recognised the work and service Catholics (priests, religious and laity) have provided to Taiwanese society. Christians have become an example of integration of different cultures and faiths, which has improved the overall quality of life in the country. This year, the government decided to recognise the activities and initiatives promoted by the Archdiocese of Taipei with a prize presented by Prime Minister Chén Chōng himself.
The Taiwanese government values cooperation with religious and non-religious organisations that provide services to society. Every "private" endeavour designed to improve the quality of life is always acknowledged as an important contribution to the country's cultural and social fabric.
This attitude is rooted in the islanders' way of thinking, which includes a strong desire to integrate cultural and religious difference and learn from those, locals or foreigners, who contribute to this diversity.
For this reason, each year, the Interior Ministry awards a prize to the best religious organisations that have distinguished themselves for helping Taiwanese society.
More than 200 religious organisations were recognised this month, seven of them are Catholic: the Archdiocese of Taipei (台北總教區), the Bishops'' Conference (主教團), the Diocese of Xinzhu (新竹教區), the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart (聖母聖心修女會), the Diocese of Chiayi (嘉義教區), the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence (主顧修女會) and the Society of Jesus (耶穌會).
Along with religious organisations, the best religious communities are also recognised, as examples for society and as encouragement for the communities to continue and even improve their work.
Prime Minister Chén Chōng (陳冲) personally handed out prizes to 33 organisations; the Interior Ministry (內政院) awarded 255 prizes.
Amongst the seven Catholic organisations, only the Archdiocese of Taipei received the prize awarded by the Taiwanese cabinet (行政院), directly from the hands of the prime minister.
Interior Minister Li Hongyuan (李鴻源) gave the award to the other six organisations.