“The faith which does not reject any peoples’ customs”

The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the Vatican department in charge of missionary work, gave the following instructions to Catholic missionaries in 1659 on how to deal with the cultures they were to encounter in the Far East:

Put no obstacles in their way; and for no reason whatever should you persuade these people to change their rites, customs, and ways of life, unless these are obviously opposed to religion and good morals. For what is more absurd than to bring France or Spain or Italy or any other part of Europe into China? It is not these that you should bring but the faith which does not spurn or reject any peoples’ rites and customs, unless they are depraved, but on the contrary tries to keep them … Admire and praise what deserves to be respected.

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2 Responses

  1. I have become increasingly impressed by your posts, Jonah. I have a personal theological question to ask you and was wondering if perhaps you could e-mail me.

  2. Thank you for posting this, Jonah. I liked the other passage you quoted some time back about the mission statement for the native american peoples too. I think statements such as these should be quoted and pondered on more often. Also, the fact that the catholic faith has a very rich intellectual side to it should be pondered on as well.

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