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Catholic Church is an 'integral part of China'

Top Vatican diplomat says in preface of new book that Church is not a foreigner and can contribute greatly to society
Catholic Church is an 'integral part of China'

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin says Catholic Church has a prominent part to play in Chinese society. (Photo by Sergei Gapon)

Published: March 18, 2019 07:08 AM GMT
Updated: March 18, 2019 07:10 AM GMT

The Catholic Church in China is a fundamental part of Chinese history and can play a leading role in promoting the common good of all its citizens, says Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

“The Catholic Church in China is not a ‘foreigner’ but an integral and active part of Chinese history and can contribute to the edification of a society that is more harmonious and respectful of all,” the cardinal wrote in the preface of the soon to be launched “The Church in China: A New Departure.”

The book edited by Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica comes at a particular moment in the history of relations between the Apostolic See and China, following the signing of the provisional agreement on the nomination of bishops that took place in Beijing last September.

The volume emerges from the “China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue,” a collaboration between the journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, and Georgetown University. It gathers various studies that have appeared over the last two years in La Civilità Cattolica.

Readers will be presented with a unique intellectual and ecclesial insight through the culture, society and spirituality of China today.

“I underlined that the desired new relations with China are being conceived and carried out not without fear and trembling, because they concern the Church, something of God, only insofar as they are ‘functional’ for the good of Chinese Catholics, for the good of the entire Chinese people, and for the harmony of the whole society,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.

The press release for the March 25 book launch mentions how Pope Francis has ushered in a new era of dialogue between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China and how despite complex relations since the arrival of Christianity in the 7th century, the recent provisional agreement presents an opportunity for a new departure.

Father Spadaro on March 25 at the Villa Malta in Rome will moderate a discussion of these themes explored in his new book.

Participants will include Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Father Arturo Sosa, Superior-General of the Society of Jesus. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will provide the closing remarks.

This event, co-sponsored by the China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue, is to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome.

For the text of Cardinal Pietro Parolin's preface to The Church in China, click here.

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