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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Jesuits and the Chinese

The Chinese have published a new dictionary named for the famed Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci. The dictionary is enormous at over 9,000 pages and shows the importance that the atheist government still places upon its Catholic heritage even as it silences Catholics loyal to the papacy.

The activity of the Society of Jesus in China like many things involving the Jesuits was controversial. Unlike other religious communities, the Jesuits strove to inculturate themselves into Chinese society and were willing to adapt Catholic beliefs to Chinese culture. Many Chinese were drawn to the Church by their efforts, but there were also questions of whether the Jesuits were to willing to sacrifice essentials of the faith for the sake of being more attractive.

This continues to be a question of missionary activity - what is essential to the faith and what can be changed in order to truly inculturate the faith within the reality of a particular community. It is not necessary for a community to adopt itself to worshiping solely in Latin but it is necessary that they believe that salvation only comes through Jesus Christ.


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