Together with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Archdiocese of Beijing is accelerating the sinicization of Catholicism through cultural events aimed at insisting on the inculturation of Christianity to socialist ideology.
“The sinicization of religion by adapting it to socialist ideology.” Since the beginning of 2023, President Xi Jinping's watchword reaffirmed last year at the 20th Congress of the CCP finds an example of its realization in the exhibition proposed by the archdiocese on its own premises.
The opening took place in the presence of Msgr. Li Shan, Archbishop of Bejing, a prelate jointly appointed by the Holy See and China in 2007, more than ten years before the 2018 agreement that was supposed to put an end to the schism of bishops being appointed unilaterally by the communist regime.
Since last year, Archbishop Li Shan has also been president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the official government entity through which the Red mandarins tightly control the activity of the Church in the Middle Kingdom.
This is perhaps also why we want to mark the recurrence with a sign explicitly recalling the directive on which Xi Jinping insists.
The exhibition is titled “Honoring Heaven and Loving the Homeland.” It consists of an evocation of “the history of the sinicization of Catholicism in Beijing,” as indicated by the organizers who did not skimp on the means implemented: 41 panels, more than 600 images, and - reports a official note from the diocese – “16 months of work and five rounds of discussion among experts, with many drafts and redrafts.”
The introductory panel, in an unvarnished tone, explains that the purpose is “to further promote the sinicization of Catholicism, to better understand Secretary General Xi Jinping's important statement on religion, to promote excellent Chinese culture, to strengthen cultural trust, and to explore Beijing’s rich Catholic cultural resources.”
The exhibition images themselves, posted on the WeChat account of the Archdiocese of Beijing, clearly show the centrality of the theme of patriotism: in the section on the historical origins of sinicization appears the image of the great Jesuit Matteo Ricci and some examples of the first significant attempts at inculturating Christianity in the country.
Note the particular emphasis placed by the organizers of the exhibition on Bishop Fu Tieshan (1931-2007), a schismatic bishop and key figure in the affirmation of the idea of an “autonomous” Chinese Church in relation to the Holy See. A whole program for the future of Sino-Vatican relations.
To learn more about the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, please use the link below to access and read the series of articles published by FSSPX.News.