Msgr. Ma Daqin: We must learn from Matteo Ricci

A new article by the auxiliary bishop of Shanghai after his "U-turn" on the role of the Patriotic Association. The prelate emphasizes the work of the great Jesuit missionary, who married the Chinese "Classics" with the Gospel. Today we must proclaim the faith with commitment "without interfering in politics”.

Aug 26, 2016

HONG KONG: In recent days, another article has appeared Msgr. Ma Daqin's blog in praise of the figure of Matteo Ricci and his role in the evangelization of China. This is the first work penned by the bishop after the long series of articles in which he hailed the Patriotic Association and its role in the relationship between Catholics and State. The article was viewed by many in China and abroad, as a betrayal of the prelate.

This latest article by Msgr. Ma is a balanced study into the figure and method of evangelization of Fr. Matteo Ricci.

At first glance it appears to be the work of a diligent and respectful scholar (devoid of any contrasting opinions) of China and the Chinese culture, making it seem that the the Christian doctrine and Church in no way oppose it.

In the brief analysis of Fr. Ricci's book 'The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven' Msgr. Ma stresses how well Ricci knew and assimilated the contents of Chinese Classics, which shames himself and other Chinese Catholics today.

Fr. Ricci's main method was not the direct preaching of the Gospel but, conscious of its Christian culture, he intended to fully assimilate it in harmony with Chinese society: that is, he intended to Christianize Chinese culture and sinicize Christian culture.

Fr. Ricci's humanistic attitude made him use friendship (rather than the negative attitude of judgment) in an effort to reach out to people, to gain respect and appreciation but also to influence them positively: this still stands as a model given that 99% of the Chinese still view the Catholic Church negatively, because of the consequences of Rites Controversy and the colonial period.

He concludes by underlining the need to proclaim the Gospel with commitment, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9: 16-23, but without wishing to interfere in the authority of politics nor aspire to secular powers.--Asia News

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