Archive for the ‘Interreligious Dialogue’ Category

Jesuit Sheds Light on the Missionary Strategies Used by Matteo Ricci in China

chinese_PopeThe missionary strategies used by the Jesuits in China constitute an advanced and effective model for the enculturalization of Christianity. This is what emerged, in brief, from a presentation held in May at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome by Jesuit Father Klaus Schatz, a professor of church history at the St. George’s Philosophical and Theological School in Frankfurt.

Fr. Schatz’s presentation was part of a series of conferences on the theme of “Conversion: A Change of God? Experiences and Reflections on Interreligious Dialogue”, launched by the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies of Religion and Culture (ISIRC) at the Gregorian University.

Speaking on the Chinese mission founded by Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci and carried out in the 16th and 17th centuries, Schatz stressed that the scope of the Jesuits, in the beginning, was aimed at earning credit with the upper echelons of society. They wanted to gain the trust of the court and the emperor, who were the ones who shaped an official interpretation of religious rites. The novelty of Christianity, presented by the Jesuits to the Chinese, was that every man can have a direct and immediate relationship with God. This was a message unheard of in a country where only the emperor could make sacrifices to heaven.

Ultimately, their mission had a much farther reach. Korea is a unique example in the history of Christianity of a local church starting not through preaching, or direct personal contact with missionaries or Christians, but through literature. Here, the Christian faith got on its feet towards the end of the 18th century because a group of Koreans read Ricci’s book on the teaching of the Lord.

H2onews, a Catholic news service that distributes multimedia in nine languages, has more on Schatz’s presentation at the Pontifical Gregorian University here.

NJN Monthly Podcast: University Founded by the Jesuits 450 Years Ago Continues Its Service to the Church Today

Pontifical Gregorian UniversityIn 1551, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, established established a “School of Grammar, Humanity and Christian Doctrine” in Rome. Initially called the “Roman College”, it soon became the Gregorian University and was the first university founded by the Jesuits. Containing faculties and institutes of various disciplines of the humanities, the Gregorian, also known as “The Greg” has one of the largest theology departments in the world, with over 1,600 students from over 130 countries. St. Ignatius envisioned a “university of all nations, for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the training of wise and qualified leaders of the Church and society.”

Today, the Gregorian is part of a larger consortium consisting of three schools serving more than 3,800 students: The Pontifical Gregorian University, The Pontifical Biblical Institute and The Pontifical Oriental Institute for Eastern Christian Studies.

In the United States, the Gregorian University Foundation was established in 1972 to raise the needed funds for scholarships, academic chairs, libraries and capital improvements for the Pontifical Gregorian University Consortium.

In this month’s National Jesuit News podcast, we talk with the foundation’s vice president, Geoff Loftus, on what the Gregorian University provides to the Church and the legacy and impact of its scholars and students.

Jesuit’s Students Unveil Exhibit on Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke with items featured in the Boston College exhibit "Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings." (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

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Boston College Assistant Professor of History Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke helped his undgergrad students create an exhibit that opened on Mar. 21 titled “Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings.”

The exhibit, which highlights the history of East-West exchanges, has a number of multimedia resources to demonstrate Christian mission history in Asia.

In the 16th century, the Chinese were utilizing what at the time was advanced technology through their observatory in Beijing, Fr. Clarke said.

“In one display, we show the observatory and all the astronomical devices that they used during the time the Jesuits were there,” said student Alexander Gilman ’11.

Utilizing excerpts and outtakes from Clarke’s documentary, “Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church,” students were able to compile their own virtual history.

“One of the ways people learned about East-West cultural exchange was through six melody lines written down by a Jesuit in Beijing at that time,” said Clarke. Using these melodies as a creative point of departure, Clarke commissioned the composition of an aria that is played as people pass through the exhibit.

A number of rare books are also on display, including Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, the translations of the first three of the four canonical books of Confucianism. A group of Jesuits originally translated the philosophies of the Chinese to lead to greater understanding of Chinese thought and brought the culture to Europeans and beyond, Clarke said.

For more information, watch a video preview of the exhibit and visit the Boston College Chronicle.

Jesuit's Students Unveil Exhibit on Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke with items featured in the Boston College exhibit "Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings." (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

Share

Boston College Assistant Professor of History Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke helped his undgergrad students create an exhibit that opened on Mar. 21 titled “Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings.”

The exhibit, which highlights the history of East-West exchanges, has a number of multimedia resources to demonstrate Christian mission history in Asia.

In the 16th century, the Chinese were utilizing what at the time was advanced technology through their observatory in Beijing, Fr. Clarke said.

“In one display, we show the observatory and all the astronomical devices that they used during the time the Jesuits were there,” said student Alexander Gilman ’11.

Utilizing excerpts and outtakes from Clarke’s documentary, “Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church,” students were able to compile their own virtual history.

“One of the ways people learned about East-West cultural exchange was through six melody lines written down by a Jesuit in Beijing at that time,” said Clarke. Using these melodies as a creative point of departure, Clarke commissioned the composition of an aria that is played as people pass through the exhibit.

A number of rare books are also on display, including Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, the translations of the first three of the four canonical books of Confucianism. A group of Jesuits originally translated the philosophies of the Chinese to lead to greater understanding of Chinese thought and brought the culture to Europeans and beyond, Clarke said.

For more information, watch a video preview of the exhibit and visit the Boston College Chronicle.

Jesuit Middle East Expert on Egypt’s Revolution

Jesuit Father Drew ChristiansenShare

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, editor-in-chief of America magazine and former director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, said that the success of a nonviolent revolution in Egypt is one of “multiple signs of spring in the North African winter.”

Fr. Christiansen, an expert on the Middle East, was keynote speaker at the Diocese of Arlington’s annual peace symposium on Feb. 12.

“I think it’s wonderful that Egypt was a nonviolent revolution. It was so unexpected. For 18 days in a country of 80 million people, how do you get that to happen?” Christiansen asked. “Those that preached that nonviolence wasn’t to be found in the Muslim world have been proved wrong again.”

As for what’s next for Egypt, he said it will be a waiting game, with the hope that the country will end up with a responsible democratic government.

Christiansen also focused his talk on religious freedom in other Middle Eastern countries and the role the United States is playing and has played. For more on Christiansen’s talk, visit Catholic News Service.