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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The rites controversies in China and India were part of a larger debate on the status of rites and customs in an already global world and within global Catholicism. To understand the deeper meanings of Chinese and Indian concepts and rites and assess their compatibility with Christianity, the Jesuits proposed a method based on dialogue with the local literati. First tolerated, the method of accommodation was finally forbidden by the Catholic Church in the early eighteenth century out of fear of religious syncretism, which led to the stigmatization of other cultures’ rites as “pagan” and “superstitious.” Therefore, Christianity remained a foreign and marginal religion in the East until the reform of the liturgy in the twentieth century, when the Indian ritual practices were accepted. After the decree “Ad Gentes” by Vatican II, the Catholic Church endeavored to bridge the gap between cultures and religions, partly created during the rites controversy.

Keywords: Chinese rites, Malabar rites, names for God, Matteo Ricci, Roberto Nobili, Charles-Thomas Maillard de Tournon, Kangxi, Alessandro Valignano

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