Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has told a Chinese state-run publication that he welcomed the opportunity for China and the Holy See to work together to “build a more secure and prosperous world.” Source: CNA.
“The prospect opens up that two ancient, great and sophisticated international entities - like China and the Apostolic See - may become ever more aware of a common responsibility for the grave problems of our time,” Cardinal Parolin said in an interview with the Global Times published on Sunday.
The cardinal told the state-owned paper that “inculturation,” a Catholic missionary practice, and “sinicisation,” a Chinese government campaign, can be “complementary” and “can open avenues for dialogue.”
“Inculturation is an essential condition for a sound proclamation of the Gospel which, in order to bear fruit, requires, on the one hand, safeguarding its authentic purity and integrity and, on the other, presenting it according to the particular experience of each people and culture,” he said.
“These two terms, ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicisation,’ refer to each other without confusion and without opposition.”
Cardinal Parolin pointed to the example of 16th century Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci as an outstanding witness of fruitful inculturation in China.
“For the future, it will certainly be important to deepen this theme, especially the relationship between ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicisation,’ keeping in mind how the Chinese leadership has been able to reiterate their willingness not to undermine the nature and the doctrine of each religion,” the cardinal said.
Since coming to power in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping has mandated the “sinicisation” of all religions in China, a move which the US Commission on International Religious Freedom called “a far-reaching strategy to control, govern, and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mould infused with ‘Chinese characteristics’.”
The Chinese government is in the midst of implementing a five-year “sinicisation plan” for Islam, a religion that has faced increased persecution in the country with at least 800,000 Uyghur Muslims held in internment camps.
Cardinal Parolin said that there is “an increased trust between the two sides” since China and the Holy See signed a provisional agreement in September 2018 on the nomination of bishops, saying the accord provides “hope that we can gradually arrive at concrete results.”