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Remembering Ricci

ricci_01Over 300 years ago, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci tried to present the Christian Gospel in a way that could make sense to Chinese mandarins, building on the Confucianism which informed their culture. The effort was controversial, and in 1715 Pope Clement XI declared that the Confucian rituals were in conflict with Christian teaching. Now, in preparation for the fourth centenary of Ricci’s death, Pope Benedict XVI has hailed him as “a man of profound faith and extraordinary cultural and scientific genius, who devoted many years of his life to weave a profitable dialogue between East and West while he was working at the same time to plant the Gospel in the culture of the Chinese people. His example still remains today a model of positive encounter with European and Chinese culture.”