A gesture of friendship in the spirit of Matteo Ricci
LA CIVILTÀ CATTOLICA IN CHINESE
Expanding the international perspective of the journal, the Jesuits have launched a new edition in simplified Chinese.
Rome, 20 April 2020. La Civiltà Cattolica (公教文明) founded in 1850 – one of the oldest journals in the world – has decided to launch a new edition in simplified Chinese on the occasion of its 170th anniversary. This initiative is also offered as a gesture of friendship, given the increasingly important role that China plays in our contemporary world within the global context.
The Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in a letter to the Director, Fr. Anthony Spadaro, S.J. (re-published below) praised this initiative which intends to “write a new chapter – fruit of the friendly encounter with the rich tradition of the Chinese people.” This corresponds, he wrote, with the “particular vocation” of the review which is “to build bridges and to establish dialogue with all people.” The Cardinal continued: “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 journal, published in Italian before the unification of Italy, has always enjoyed a very intimate and special relationship with the Holy See and Roman Pontiffs, promoting the dialogue between the Christian faith and contemporary culture with patience and respect.
Pope Francis himself gave La Civiltà Cattolica the model of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) or Li Madou (利玛窦) as he was known in China. This Jesuit – from Macerata in the Le Marche Region of Italy – moved to China at thirty years of age, drafted a huge map of the world, which served to create a wider understanding of the world, and to connect the Chinese people with other civilizations. In a divided world such as our own, it is an ideal image of the harmony of a land at peace. Thus, our review desires to be, in its own way, a map of the world – connecting cultures and civilizations.
In 1601, Matteo Ricci also composed a treatise on friendship. That text offered an opportunity for China’s mandarins and the ‘literati’ of the Ming Dynasty, to know the thinking of the great philosophers of the West; but for the Jesuits and for the great scholars within Western culture, it also offered the foundation for dialogue with the great intellectuals of China. The world has learned much from this great culture, from the wisdom of the Chinese, thanks to the study and the passion of the Jesuits. For this reason, this Jesuit review chose to begin a Chinese edition.
The website address is https://www.gjwm.org. Also available as redirect are: http://www.gongjiaowenming.org and http://cn.laciviltacattolica.org The website is sub-divided in four sections: News (新闻); World (观世界); Christian Reflection (基督教文化研究); and Culture (文化及评论).
WeChat account of the Chinese review is gjwm1850.
The Chinese edition of La Civiltà Cattolica contributes to making our magazine more and truly international. For some years now its writers – all Jesuits – from different countries and continents have offered unique and original contributions. Since 2017 the review has been published in five languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Korean; now a Chinese edition is available. In his message to the journal, Pope Francis wrote that he hoped that in its pages, “the voices of many different frontiers might be heard.” The same Pontiff has also descibed the journal as “unique in its genre.”
CARDINAL PAROLIN’S LETTER TO FR. SPADARO
SECRETARIAT OF STATE
From the Vatican, 27 March 2020
I thank you for your letter of 7 March 2020 in which you kindly informed me of the immanent release of a digital edition of La Civiltà Cattolica in the Chinese language. The circumstance offers me the pleasure to formulate words of congratulations to this prestigious journal, one of the oldest in the world, which on the 170th anniversary of its existence intends to launch a new initiative at the service of the Gospel, and write a new chapter, fruit of the friendly encounter with the rich tradition of the Chinese people. This demonstrates that “every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Mt 13:52)
This laudable project corresponds suitably with your particular vocation, as Pope Francis reminded you at the beginning of his Petrine ministry as Pastor of the universal Church. To the writers of La Civiltà Cattolica, edited by members of the Society of Jesus, he said that their principle task is to build bridges and to establish a dialogue with all people, not only with believers, but also with those who not sharing the Christian faith, nonetheless nourish a particular respect for high human values. (cfr. Discourse of Holy Father Francis to the Community of the College of Writers of La Civiltà Cattolica, 14 June 2013).
Therefore, I can only express from the depths of my heart my warmest best wishes and the fervent hope that your Chinese language edition might become a solid instrument of mutual cultural and scientific enrichment, among all people in search of beauty and truth. Thus, I hope, that the publications will be edited and prepared with dedication and read with interest, having as the ultimate goal, collaboration in the construction of an authentic civilization of open dialogue and lasting peace among all the peoples of the world.
I entrust this initiative to the Lord in prayer, and I greet you with deferential respect.
PIETRO CARD. PAROLIN
Secretary of State of His Holiness
Antonio Spadaro S.I.
Director of La Civiltà Cattolica