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Topic: Author:  
Fr. Isle of Man
Topic: Religion: Can you be Confucian and Christian?
Coming from a strong Christian background with my father being a Pastor and Assistant Bishop in the Lutheran Synod of the USA's NorthWest I came to China when I was 22 with some pretty strong beliefs. I though that bowing / praying at Chinese temples was sacrilegious. Did you know that this debate has been going on for 400+ years and more often than not the church rules that it's ok to do practice the Rites of Chinese Confucianism. What's your thoughts?

Reading from WIki:

The Chinese Rites controversy was a dispute among Roman Catholic missionaries over the religiosity of Confucianism and Chinese rituals during the 17th and 18th centuries. They debated whether Chinese ritual practices of honoring family ancestors and other formal Confucian and Chinese imperial rites qualified as religious rites and thus incompatible with Catholic belief.[1][2] On one side, the Jesuits argued that these Chinese rites were secular rituals that were compatible with Christianity, within certain limits, and should thus be tolerated. On the other side, the Dominicans and Franciscans argued otherwise and reported the issue to Rome.

Rome's Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith sided with the Dominicans in 1645 by condemning the Chinese rites based on their brief. However, the same congregation sided with the Jesuits in 1656, thereby lifting the ban.[1] It was one of the many disputes between the Jesuits and the Dominicans in China and elsewhere in Asia, including Japan[3] and India.[4]

The controversy embroiled leading European universities; the Qing Dynasty's Kangxi Emperor and several popes (including Clement XI and Clement XIV) considered the case; the offices of the Holy See also intervened. Near the end of the 17th century, many Dominicans and Franciscans had shifted their positions in agreeing with the Jesuits' opinion, but Rome disagreed. Clement XI banned the rites in 1704. In 1742, Benedict XIV reaffirmed the ban and forbade debate.[1]

In 1939, after two centuries the Holy See re-assessed the issue. Pope Pius XII issued a decree on December 8, 1939, authorizing Christians to observe the ancestral rites and participate in Confucius-honouring ceremonies. Later, the general principle of admitting native ceremonies into the liturgy of the church whenever possible was proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council (1962?65).[1]
10 Oct 2014
Fr. United States


Next question?
10 Oct 2014

replied by robertmorrison on 23:14:15 12 Oct
Fr. United States
The bowing and praying would most likely be Buddhist or Taoist. Confucianism is NOT a religion. An Atheist can believe in Confucianism.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
10 Oct 2014

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