Beijing and the Holy See – Seeking the Common Ground. Two Wounded Partners in Dialogue

Jeroom J. Heyndrickx CICM

The Unequal Treaties (1842–1860) were for China the most humiliating events in its history. They caused wounds in the hearts of all Chinese which till now are not healed. The history of the Catholic Church in China was also full of drama. The drama of the Rites Controversy (18th Century) was partly caused by internal strife inside the Church, but most painful and leaving unhealed wounds among Catholic leaders and faithful were the dramas of the Boxer Uprising (1900) and the events of the 1950’s which culminated in the Cultural Revolution (1965–1975). This dramatic history has over the years caused sharp confrontations and an unfriendly relationship between Rome and Beijing. Given this dramatic background we consider it a breakthrough that these two wounded partners – Beijing and the Holy See – are now in dialogue seeking the common ground instead of continuing the confrontation of the past.

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