The French Protectorate's Impact on the Inculturation of the Chinese Catholicism: Problems and Solutions
法國保教權 ； 剛恆毅 ； 天主教會本地化 ； 中梵關係 ； French Protectorate ； Celso Costantini ； Inculturation of Catholic Church ； Sino-Vatican Relations
|Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication||
64卷1期（2021 / 03 / 01）
21 - 55
The French Protectorate in China was the consequence caused by the corruption of the Qing's imperial court, the deterioration of national power in China, ignorance to the international politics and, essentially, the ambition of the French imperialists. In order to present a clear picture on the nature and the different stages of the Protectorate in China, this study traces back to the origin, examines its development and the abolition of this system; providing a clear account on how this regime promoted by the French government on Catholicism in China: its members, ecclesiastic structure, activities, languages, liturgy, fine arts, and architectures, etc. The French Protectorate triggered a series of issues, especially on the inequalities between the foreign missionaries and the native clergymen, in which the missionary affairs were under the strict control of the former. This led to the impression of Catholicism in China as a Western religion associated to the Western people. Moreover, it was considered as an instrument of imperialist expansion. This unfavorable image of Catholicism positioned to the public was widely criticized by the emerging Chinese nationalist movement since the 1910s. These problems undermined the effort of the Catholic evangelization that concerned the Holy See to initiate an investigation by sending the first apostolic delegate, Mgr. Celso Costantini, to China to seek for solutions and undertook further reforms where deemed necessary. This study concludes that the key elements in the process of the inculturation of Chinese Catholicism largely rely on the native cleric's status, the support of the Holy See, as well as the pressure from the Nationalist government upon the Church. Only by having liberated itself from the restraints of Western powers, the Chinese Catholic Church earned its ground towards autonomy and basis to begin its inculturation.