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Xu Guangqi did not compromise his faith says bishop of Shanghai

 

Shanghai (UCAN): Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, issued a pastoral letter over the Christmas weekend for the upcoming Chinese New Year urging his flock to respect, commemorate, propagate and learn from Paul Xu Guangqi (1562 to 1633). Xu was the first local Catholic convert and the diocese is promoting his cause for sainthood.

The letter, Xu Guangqi: A Man for All Seasons, comes days after the 95-year-old bishop was discharged from hospital, having suffered a fractured rib after a fall (Sunday Examiner, 25 December 2011). 

Xu, a Chinese scholar-bureaucrat who worked with Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci (1552 to 1610), had a mild and flexible character, but “it does not mean he easily compromised his faith or had no aggressiveness in evangelisation,” Bishop Jin said.

The bishop noted that during the difficult, early days of the Church in China, Xu insisted on practicing Father Ricci’s principle of respecting Chinese culture and maintaining a cautious approach in protecting the Church community.

Xu suggested that direct confrontation would lead to greater hatred and persecution of Catholics and tried his best to explain the Catholic faith to the emperor, putting himself forward as a role model for being both a Catholic and loyal Chinese citizen. “How can such faith be a compromising faith?” asked Bishop Jin.

According to the bishop, the Xujiahui district in downtown Shanghai which grew around the graveyard where Xu is buried, became a place where modern Chinese culture developed and spread.

Xu was also a founder and pioneer of Catholicism in Shanghai.

Thus Bishop Jin urged Catholics to visit historic monuments associated with Xu and learn from his example during his 450th birth anniversary this year and his 380th death anniversary next year.

He also called on the sick to pray for Xu’s intercession so that any miracle would contribute to making him the first Chinese confessor-saint.

 

The bishop noted that during the difficult, early days of the Church in China, Xu insisted on practicing Father Ricci’s principle of respecting Chinese culture and maintaining a cautious approach in protecting the Church community

 

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