Rome-Based Jesuit Journal Announces Launch of Chinese Edition

A cross is seen inside St. Joseph's church, also known as Wangfujing church in Beijing on January 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty

ROME — The Rome-based Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica has announced the launch of a new edition of the magazine in simplified Chinese, Vatican News reported Monday.

La Civiltà Cattolica, which is tied to the Vatican, said the new edition is meant “as a gesture of friendship, given the increasingly important role that the Chinese language plays in the contemporary world within the global context.”

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, praised the initiative as “fruit of the friendly encounter with the rich tradition of the Chinese people.” Cardinal Parolin has played an active role in the Vatican’s détente with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which resulted in a secret 2018 accord between the Vatican and the CCP regarding the naming of Catholic bishops in China.

“Therefore, I can only express from the depths of my heart my warmest best wishes and the fervent hope that your review in the Chinese language might become a solid instrument of mutual cultural and scientific enrichment,” the cardinal wrote in his letter to Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the director of the journal.

Just prior to the signing of the Vatican accord with the CCP, the former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, called for the resignation of Cardinal Parolin, saying that the deal he was brokering amounted to an “incredible betrayal” of the Catholic faith.

In an interview with Reuters, Cardinal Zen described Cardinal Parolin as a secular bureaucrat who has little time for martyrs and saints. “I don’t think he has faith. He is just a good diplomat in a very secular, mundane meaning,” Zen said. “He should resign.”

Zen has been one of the harshest critics of what he describes as the Vatican’s willingness to bow to demands of the CCP to keep significant control over the Church in China. For decades, faithful members of the underground Catholic Church in China have suffered persecution and even martyrdom in order to stay true to Rome, and now Rome has betrayed them, the cardinal has stated.

“The consequences will be tragic and long lasting, not only for the church in China but for the whole church because it damages the credibility. Maybe that’s why they might keep the agreement secret,” Zen said at the time.

According to Zen, faithful Chinese Catholics have witnessed “the sellout of our Church,” thanks to the Vatican’s overriding desire to establish diplomatic relations with the CCP.

Since 2017, La Civiltà Cattolica has been published in five different languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Korean, to which it now adds a Chinese edition.

All contributors to the magazine are Jesuits and all articles are reviewed and approved by an official of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before publication.

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