Loading
Relations with China affect timing of Matteo Ricci cause
By Estefania Aguirre
A portrait of Father Matteo Ricci in Guangqi Park, Shanghai, China.
A portrait of Father Matteo Ricci in Guangqi Park, Shanghai, China.

.- Approval for the beatification of the Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, who ministered in China 500 years ago, depends to some degree on the Vatican’s relations with China.

“Part of the beatification depends on the political relations between China and the Vatican,” said Father Anton Witwer, the postulator of his cause.

“It’s possible to wait, even if all things are clear for a beatification, something like five years to see if the political situation has changed and is more favorable for the cause,” he told CNA in a May 15 interview.

Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci was an expert in mathematics, cosmology and astronomy, who helped spread the Gospel in China during the 16th century.

The Italian Jesuit was the first Westerner invited into the Forbidden City, the Chinese imperial palace where the emperor lived, and he produced the first map of China where Africa, Europe and America also appeared.

The process of naming him a saint involves several steps, beginning with his life being recognized as one of “heroic virtue,” before he can be beatified, which is the step before sainthood.

According to Fr. Witwer, the process began in 1985 in the Italian town of Macerata, but “it was only a historical opening so it was not sufficient.”

“This is why we had to make a new process,” he added, referring to the one initiated on Jan. 24, 2010.

The German priest, who is the General Postulator of the Society of Jesus, also explained some of the considerations that can impact the timing of Fr. Ricci’s beatification.

“First, a beatification has to help the local church (in China) to sustain and grow faith, and if there is a political impediment, it is sometimes necessary to choose the just time,” Fr. Witwer said.

In fact, the Vatican asked Fr. Witwer to introduce the cause of Fr. Ricci’s lay collaborator Xu Guanqi because “for China, it would maybe be better if a European and a Chinese are beatified more or less together,” he explained.

“This would be better for China because it is easier to accept a Chinese Blessed and not only a missionary working in China,” he added.

But according to the Jesuit postulator, Xu Guanqi’s beatification process is on hold since it was introduced in Shanghai, which is currently without a bishop.

The Italian Diocese of Macerata finished studying the case of Fr. Ricci on May 10, and passed it to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The congregation will now examine the case to decide whether or not to give the missionary, who spoke fluent Chinese and embraced the country’s culture and customs, the status of heroic virtue.

The postulator pointed out that if the Vatican gives Fr. Ricci that status, it would mean “he lived as a virtuous of faith, obedience and poverty, more than the average Christian.”

The next step in eventually proclaiming him a saint would be to beatify him, making him Blessed Mateo Ricci. That step, among other things, will involve a miracle being attributed to his intercession and have it certified as miraculous by separate panels of medical doctors, cardinals and the Pope.

“We still have to wait for the beatification because we have to wait for a miracle, which we don’t have yet,” Fr. Witwer reported.

“The Diocese of Macerata will now bring documents to the congregation and we will have to examine their canonical correctness,” said Fr. Witwer.

The postulator explained that the next step in determining whether Fr. Ricci lived a life of heroic virtue involves drafting a document of around 500 pages – known as a “Positio” – that details the life, writings and virtues of the priest.

It will be directed by the relator of the saints congregation, a “sort of thesis moderator, and then studied by historians, theologians and finally by cardinals,” said Fr. Witwer.

“Maybe in two years we can finish the Positio, then several years will be needed to study it, and then a few more years may be needed before the beatification finally takes place,” he said.

Tags: Vatican, Cause for Beatification, Church in China


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
30

Liturgical Calendar

August 30, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:14-30

Gospel
Date
08/30/14
08/29/14
08/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1: 26-31
Gospel:: Mt 25: 14-30

Saint of the Day

St. Jeanne Jugan »

Saint
Date
08/30/14
08/28/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 25:14-30

Homily
Date
08/30/14
08/29/14
08/28/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: