Vatican offers assurances as China outlines rules for dialogue

(CRUX. Elise Ann Allen).

At a high-profile conference in Rome this week, top Vatican officials reaffirmed that the Church does not pose a threat to China’s sovereignty and acknowledged that foreign missionaries made past “errors” in evangelization, while also stressing the importance of unity with Rome. Likewise, members of China’s state-backed Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) lamented what they said was a “colonialist” mentality among western foreign missionaries in the past who, they said, had a sense of “superiority” and attempted to erase Chinese culture, refusing to involve local clergy in leadership. The conference held Tuesday and titled, “100 years since the Concilium Sinense: Between history and present,” commemorated the centenary of the 1924 Council of Shanghai and marked an unprecedented coming together of top officials from the Vatican and mainland China. Not only did Pope Francis send a video message to the event, but Vatican Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Filippino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization’s Section for First Evangelization and New Particular Churches, also gave keynote speeches.

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