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Matteo Ricci’s spirit of respect and dialogue still relevant today says bishop

Taipei (UCAN): Father Matteo Ricci’s legacy lives on to this day, Bishop Claudio Giuliodori, from the great 16th century Jesuit missionary’s hometown of Macerata, Italy, said.

Father Ricci is one of the most important founding figures of the Church in China.

Bishop Giuliodori was speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Taiwanese Church at the curia of the Taipei archdiocese.

He told Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan on February 16 that Father Ricci’s spiritual heritage “of mutual respect and open-minded dialogue between east and west is still relevant today.”

To this end, the 53-year-old Italian Bishop Giuliodori told the gathering that the diocese of Macerata has established the Li Madou Study Centre—Li Madou being the Chinese name of Father Ricci—to cater to Chinese clergy pursuing studies in Europe, as well as  for theological seminars.

During his week-long visit to Taiwan, which began on February 15, Bishop Guiliodori also looked into testimonies that may help move Father Ricci’s sainthood cause forward.

The bishop expressed his hope that the diocese of Shanghai in mainland China would also speed up the cause for Paul Xu Guangqi (1562 to 1633), a collaborator of Father Ricci, so that “the two Catholic sages of east and west will be canonised together.”

He added, “Through the example set by their canonisation, other Chinese dioceses may actively engage in the search of historical material to apply for the canonisations of other foreign missionaries, Chinese clergy and laypeople.” 

Bishop Giuliodori was scheduled to meet with Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi in Kaohsiung on February 17.

Also on his itinerary was a visit to Tainan diocese set for February 18, to unveil three statues, one of Father Ricci, another of Xu and the third, the Chinese scholar’s granddaughter, Xu Candida (1607 to 1680), who was active in witnessing to and spreading the good news of Christianity. 

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