Lack of scholar priests on Chinese mainland

Responding to the lack of training in Catholic social teaching in their home provinces, Chinese scholars are working to develop an academic dialogue with the Anglican and Catholic churches in Britain.

UCA News reports that the role and function of faith in a globalised world was the theme of an academic dialogue struck up by a delegation of mainland Chinese religious scholars, including two Catholic priests, when they visited Britain recently.

Led by Fr Peter Zhao Jianmin of Beijing diocese, the four-person delegation visited universities in Birmingham, Cambridge, Liverpool, London and Oxford, and the Anglican and Catholic Churches on its May trip.

Fr Zhao, director of Beijing diocese's Institute for the Study of Christianity and Culture, told UCA News that the visit advanced academic dialogue between the China Church and theologians on the world scene. In the past, he noted, visits of mainland clergy to other countries have been mostly for pilgrimages or training.

Pointing to the lack of Chinese scholar-priests on the mainland, Fr Zhao said the Church there could promote scholarship by adopting positive and substantial policies to support theological research.

A press release put out by the trip organiser, Cultural Exchange with China, which is linked with the Columbans, noted that the visit to Britain follows up a 2004 academic visit to China that the group sponsored.

Aside from Fr Zhao, the Chinese delegation also comprised Wang Meixiu from the Institute of World Religions of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Wang said she now knows more about the relationship between the Catholic and Anglican Churches, and believes that British research on globalisation and Catholic social teachings is more advanced than Chinese research on these issues.

The trip provided "intense dialogue and exchange between Catholic and secular scholars from China," Fr Zhao said in the press release.

Columban Fr Eamonn O'Brien, director of Cultural Exchange with China, said in a press release that the group aims to build bridges between the Church in Britain and in China, with emphasis on ecumenical, interfaith and global issues.

Beijing Religious Scholars Carry Academic Dialogue To Britain(UCANews, 15/6/2006)

LINKS(not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (Wikipedia)
Cardinal Kung Foundation
Confrontation And Lack Of Dialogue Cause New Conflict (UCAN, 11/5/2006)
Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation

16 Jun 2006