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Pope, at general audience, pays tribute to Venerable Matteo Ricci

May 31, 2023

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on the theme of “the passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer,” Pope Francis devoted his May 31 general audience to Ven. Matteo Ricci, SJ (1552-1610).

“In our continuing catechesis on apostolic zeal, we now turn to Matteo Ricci, one of the early Jesuit missionaries to the Far East, who fulfilled the dream of St. Francis Xavier and entered China,” Pope Francis said, in the words of the Vatican summary of his remarks. “Father Ricci patiently mastered the difficult Chinese language and immersed himself in the country’s culture. Thanks to his writings in Chinese and his knowledge of mathematics and astonomy, Matteo Ricci became known and respected as a sage and scholar.”

The summary continued:

His vast learning and his ability to engage in sincere and respectful dialogue were employed in the service of the Gospel, which he made known not only in his writings but by his example of religious life, prayer and virtue, which attracted many of his Chinese disciples and friends to embrace the Catholic faith.

Matteo Ricci was the first foreigner permitted by the Emperor to be buried on Chinese soil. In our day, Father Matteo Ricci can serve as an outstanding model for the inculturation of the Gospel. He also remains an inspiration for relations between the Church and China, and for dialogue between the cultures of East and West in the service of peace and fraternity among peoples.


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