Roman Catholicism in Taiwan

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Dioceses of Taiwan

The Catholic Church in Taiwan is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.


Taiwan has been part of a territorial jurisdiction since 1514, when it was included in the Diocese of Funchal. As a missionary jurisdiction, there was some organized Catholic activity on the island. In 1576, the first Chinese diocese was established in Macau. This covered most of mainland China as well as Taiwan. From the 16th century through the 19th century, this diocese was divided several times. In chronological order, Taiwan belonged to the dioceses of Nanking (1660), Fukien (1696) and Amoy/Hsiamen (1883).

20th century[edit]

St. John Catholic Church in Banqiao District, New Taipei

In 1913, the Apostolic Vicariate of the Island of Formosa (Taiwan) was established, being detached from the Diocese of Amoy. It was renamed Khaosung in 1949. In September 1951 the Papal Internuncio to China was expelled to Hong Kong. Since 1952, the Papal internuncio has been stationed in Taiwan (Republic of China). Also, the ROC ambassador to the Holy See has provided the only permanent diplomatic link between China and the Holy See. Attempts to move the Papal nuncio to Beijing have failed, as the Holy See has not accepted demands by the People's Republic of China that it sever its diplomatic links with Taiwan.

Before the end of World War II the Catholic Church had a very minor presence in Taiwan based mainly in the south of the island and centred on Spanish Dominican priests who went there from the Philippines in the 1860s. The end of World War II and the following years saw a mass migration of religious communities from mainland China as Communist persecution began to take effect. As a result the Catholic Church has many Mandarin-speaking postwar mainland immigrants and is under-represented among the native Taiwanese.

One peculiarity of Catholicism in Taiwan lies on its links with practices of Shamanism. These Shamanic practices, called Wushu 巫術 in Chinese, vary according to culture and place. They are an essential part of the traditional religion of the indigenous people of Taiwan, who converted to Christianity about fifty years ago, becoming largely Presbyterian or Catholic.

21st century[edit]

The current head of the Roman Catholic Church in Taiwan is Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan (洪山川), S.V.D. of Taipei, who was appointed in November 2007. Between 1.5% and 2% of the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church operates one university in Taiwan, the Fu Jen Catholic University.


  • Taipei/台北 (Metropolitan Archdiocese since 1952, founded 1949)
    • Kaohsiung/高雄 (Diocese, founded 1913, renamed and upgraded 1949 and 1961)
    • Taichung/台中 (Diocese, founded 1951, upgraded 1962)
    • Chiayi/嘉義 (Diocese, founded 1952, upgraded 1962)
    • Hwalien/花蓮 (Diocese, founded 1952, upgraded 1963)
    • Hsinchu/新竹 (Diocese, founded 1961)
    • Tainan/台南 (Diocese, founded 1961)
    • Kinma/金馬 (Apostolic Administration, founded 1968)

List of Catholic cathedrals in Taiwan[edit]

Holy Rosary Cathedral
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral (Hsinchu)
  • Our Lady Help of Christians Cathedral (Hwalien)
  • Holy Rosary Cathedral Basilica (Kaohsiung)
  • St. John Cathedral (Chiayi)
  • Cathedral of Jesus Saviour (Taichung)
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of China (Tainan)
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Taipei)

External links[edit]