Talk:Chinese Rites controversy

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Good article Chinese Rites controversy has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 4, 2007 Good article reassessment Delisted
March 6, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article


Was it the Dominicans or the Franciscans? -- Error 01:44, 23 Dec 2003 (UTC)

The data dump of 21:25, Nov 17, 2004 by user: (proxy server for the National University of Singapore) seems to be from the public domain, see [1]. olivier 22:15, Nov 20, 2004 (UTC)

European intellectuals[edit]

I took out the following paragraph, as it doesn't add anything to this section.

At the time, there was fascination among European intellectuals with Chinese culture, Confucianism, and the Chinese language. Some even pretended that the Church declared Confucius as a Christian saint.

--Ricky81682 05:44, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)

Declaring Confucius as a Christian saint is a show of readiness for compromise, just like accepting the Chinese rites. And the fascination part explains why they had so high a concept of Confucius. -- Error 01:04, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Ok, now I understand the context. I'll put it back. --Ricky81682 05:30, Nov 23, 2004 (UTC)
I think the Papal Bull banning Confucian ancestral veneration (note that I do not use the word "worship") has been superseded by a later Papal Bull under Pius XII.
Under the pontificate of Pius XII. the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda stated:
  • Catholics are permitted to be present at ceremonies in honor of Confucius in Confucian temples or in schools;
  • Erection of image of Confucius or tablet with his name on it is permitted in Catholic schools.
  • Catholic magistrates and students are permitted to passively attend public ceremonies which have the appearance of superstition.
  • It is licit and unobjectionable for head inclinations and other manifestations of civil observance before the deceased or their images.
  • The oath on the Chinese rites, which was prescribed by Benedict XIV, is not fully in accord with recent regulations and is superfluous.
(S.C.Prop. Fid., 8 Dec., 1939) AAS 32-24
I think this information should be added to the article. Gugganij 28 June 2005 22:44 (UTC)

Confucius as a Saint[edit]

What does it exactely mean, that some even pretended that the Church declared Confucius as a Christian saint. Who? European intellectuals in China, Jesuit missonaries in China, some intellectuals in Europe? Some men/women of importance? Gugganij 28 June 2005 22:30 (UTC)

I think it was missionaries working in China, but I don't remember where I got the idea from. --Error 29 June 2005 00:06 (UTC)
I don't think anybody declared him a Christian saint, strictly speaking. But I have heard the anecdote that (Portuguese) Jesuits maintained he is, or is probably, saved, which, then again, is essentially the same thing. According to the anecdote, they were called to stop doing so by (Spanish) Dominicans, to which they replied: "Confucius is saved, which cannot be said about the King of Spain." -- (talk) 17:44, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The "two orders"[edit]

Just stumbled upon this page, and don't have time to fix this properly, but the passage

It was related to larger controversies between the two orders

Appears after only one order (Dominicans) has been mentioned. From reading some of the rest of the text it seems to me like the other order is the Jesuits, so I suggest the above sentence be rewritten to explain that. --Cotoco 08:59, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

The controversy existed primarily between the Dominicans who were in Fuijan province and the Franciscans in Tokin/Cochinchina (Vietnam area)against the Jesuit accommodationist practices first developed my Matteo Ricci in the sixteenth century and continued by the Jesuits thereafter. The Dominicans first raised objections about the borrowing of Confucian terms, the leniency on converts participating in the civil Confucian ceremonies, the veneration of ancestors (similar to unorthodox veneration of charms or objects not worthy of worship) and other ambiguous cultural activities that hovered between social and spiritual importance. There was not a clear line of Jesuit vs. Dominican/Franciscan groups, since one Jesuit superior disapproved of these accommodating policies and another Dominican supported them, sending a letter to Rome on behalf of the Jesuits in East Asia. The Dominicans (largely Spanish) played the major opponents of the Jesuits (mainly Portuguese) and the matter became entangled with national loyalties, colonial politics, and economic enterprises. --Dcmcmurtry (talk) 04:38, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Church overturned ban[edit]

My Catholic church celebrates Chinese rites including ancestral honorings (not worship) during Chinese new year's

Chinese rites during mass

Translation of "God"[edit]

something strange in Clement's bull 1. in Clement's bull apostolic authority wasn't invoked 2. Translation of a phrase is a linguastic issue and has nothing to do with faith. though of the two english words "Heavenly Lord" and "Supreme Emporer" which is acceptable is a matter of faith. it's obvious Clement didn't understand Chinese. The one who possibly explained the meaning of these words is Charles Maigrot whose Chinese was judged "woefully inadequate" by kang xi. so when Clement XI was banning the word "Heavenly Lord" he actually banned "Tian Zhu"/"T'ien Chu" as "Shangdi" means "Supreme Emperor" see meaning of "Shangdi"(sœng dai cantonese) and "Tian Zhu" (tin dzü in cantonese) here The meaning of the bull is made clear when Clement repeated God should be referred to as God of heaven, of Earth and of everything. it's obvious "Heavenly Lord" is unacceptable instead of "Supreme Emperor". In Benedict XIV's bull ex quo singulari(I haven't found it) it says only "Tian Zhu" is acceptable. this caused great confusion. also the translation of "Catholic Church" in Chinese is "Tian Zhu Jiao" (Tin dzü gau in Cantonese) which corresponds to "Heavenly Lord's Religion"!

Another explanation for this mess: Clement XI understood Tian Zhu is "Heavenly Lord" and thought it's acceptable, the phrase "(Shangdi)" was added by someone else who thought "Heavenly Lord" and "Shangdi" were the same. However Clement XI and Benedict XIV both mistook "Shangdi" for "ShangTian/Shangtin". "Shangtian/Shangtin" indeed means heaven and should be banned. In one of the most unbelievable event the title "ex quo singulari" is translated "Zi ShangZhu ShengYi"-- "From the holy will of the Supreme Lord" if only "Heavenly Lord" is acceptable, then how come the translation of "Supreme Lord"? if "Supreme Lord" is acceptable then "Supreme Emporer" is also acceptable.

The same problem also exist in Vietnamese. What is more I've read a Catholic Vietnamese Bible where the word "angel" is translated as "Thiên Thần" which means "Heavenly god"!

What should be said about Clement and Benedict? They shouldn't venture into a field they're neither familiar nor protected by the Holy Ghost, made mistakes, created a confusion and did the Catholic Church a disservice. They could have simply banned refering to God as Heaven without addressing the meaning of each Chinese word

I fully agree with Clement and Benedict on their other points like confucius and ancestor worship.

GA Re-Review and In-line citations[edit]

Note: This article has a very small number of in-line citations for an article of its size and currently would not pass criteria 2b.
Members of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles are in the process of doing a re-review of current Good Article listings to ensure compliance with the standards of the Good Article Criteria. (Discussion of the changes and re-review can be found here). A significant change to the GA criteria is the mandatory use of some sort of in-line citation (In accordance to WP:CITE) to be used in order for an article to pass the verification and reference criteria. It is recommended that the article's editors take a look at the inclusion of in-line citations as well as how the article stacks up against the rest of the Good Article criteria. GA reviewers will give you at least a week's time from the date of this notice to work on the in-line citations before doing a full re-review and deciding if the article still merits being considered a Good Article or would need to be de-listed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on the Good Article project talk page or you may contact me personally. On behalf of the Good Articles Project, I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into working on this article and improving the overall quality of the Wikipedia project. Agne 22:45, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


This article does not meet 2a or 3a of the WP:WIAGA. This article needs a massive expansion and more sources. Until this is done, it cannot be a GA article. Z1720 06:51, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

To improve[edit]

I try to improve this article, with the aim to make it GA again, by cleaning up the problematic texts and adding reliable sources. The below are the problematic texts removed from the previous version. --(comparingChinese Wikipedia vs Baidu Baike by hanteng) 16:48, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

problematic text

rites and offerings to the [[Emperor of China|emperor]] constituted [[idolatry]]. [[Pope]] [[Clement XI]] decided in favor of the [[Dominican Order|Dominicans]] (who argued that Chinese folk religion and offerings to the emperor were incompatible with [[Catholicism]]), which greatly reduced Catholic [[missionary]] activity in [[China]]. It was related to larger controversies between the [[Dominicans]] and [[Jesuits]] over the adoption of local practices of other countries, such as the ascetic [[brahmin]] practices of India.{{Citation needed|reason=not clear what it is here|date=February 2010}} (The debate was not, as is sometimes thought, about whether the liturgy could be in Chinese rather than in Latin){{Citation needed|date=March 2012}}. Although in later European commentary on China it has continued to be claimed that Confucianism is a "philosophy" and not a "religion" — because it does not conform to the model of western religions — {{subst:Unsigned|1=Hanteng|2=17:18, 19 February 2013 (UTC)}} <!--Autosigned by SineBot-->

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Chinese Rites controversy/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tomcat7 (talk · contribs) 16:10, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

  • Some issues with File:Ricci1.jpg. Lacking source information and author make it hard to check if the license is correct. As it is a cleaned version of File:MatteoRicciProminentConvert.jpg, it is fairly easy to add the author (Anthansius Kircher) and date (1667)--Tomcat (7) 16:10, 25 February 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. It is done. Great suggestion! --(comparingChinese Wikipedia vs Baidu Baike by hanteng) 17:37, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
first batach
  • I am not sure about the "[i.e., the Christian God]" note.
hanteng: Me neither. Fixed with original quote with a clickable reference. [2]
  • "but here they had a problem" - something like "but encountered a problem."
hanteng: indeed, further improved with a footnote/citation
  • I think more text is needed in some sections, eg "Kangxi's ban". I think more content should be added about the responses of other Chinese people, their response of Kangxi's opinion, etc.
hanteng: I have tried to find additional reliable sources and expanded the article a bit, adding a few paragraphs and a section called "Qianlong's reinforcement"[3]. I have also found and included a sentence on the role of Chinese converts. Note that the literature also acknowledges the gap: "the role of the Chinese converts has been largely ignored". Thus, I am not sure how much I can improve per WP:NOR policy based on reliable sources available.
  • " Dec. 8th 1939" - should read "December 8, 1939" or "8 December 1939" per MOS:DATE. Same with "Dec. 8, 1939" in the lead
hanteng: done. [4]
  • Was there any controversy after that one?
hanteng: not sure if i understand your question here. Judging from the literature, Catholic Church seems to be fine with the status quo. I am not sure if the Protestant Church should be considered. It seems to me that the Protestants may still have issues with Chinese rites (see [5]). However, I do not think this should be included here in this entry since it is a bit off-topic for me. Of course, if any reliable sources can be found, they should be considered and then included.
  • I would change "Jesuit Missionaries in China" to "Background"
hanteng: done. [6]
  • I would link Confucius in the lead
hanteng: Good point. Linked [7]
  • You state eight popes considered the case, but I only see four mentioned. What were the other four pope's responses?
hanteng: The phrase "eight popes" was included from the source, but I see your point per WP:INTRO. Fixed here[8] with original quote of "eight popes" included in cite template, but not in the main text.
  • "Joachim Bouvet" is not mentioned in the article. Was he notable to be included here?
hanteng: indeed, fixed with other more relevant internal links for the see also section [9]
  • "The controversy" -> probably "Controversy" per MOS:HEAD
hanteng: indeed, fixed [10]
  • In the references, p. should be changed to pp. if there are more than one page
hanteng: Fixed here[11] [12]
  • Ref 15 "Chinese astronomy and the Jesuit mission: an encounter of cultures": consider adding isbn, page, etc
hanteng: (Needham1958 fixed with OCLC and url). ISBN not available, use OCLC and url instead-- Fixed here [13]
  • Ref 16, I can not see the mention of "Mantienne" in the further reading section. Same goes for some other similar footnotes.--Tomcat (7) 19:09, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
hanteng: Does this fix of multiple edits work? [14] Three references are isolated right after the refs. Two non-English references are listed as Further readings with appropriate language icons.
hanteng's overall remark on the first batch of comments by Tomcat

Tomcat's comments are to the point, detailed and helpful. I hope that I have addressed all of them satisfactorily. However, given the limitations on the coverage of the literature and WP:due policy, I am not sure if I can answer all the factual questions raised by Tomcat based on the sources available (e.g. who are the eight popes and what were the Chinese response to Kangxi's ban?) Nonetheless, I appreciate Tomcat's questions and am open to any further suggestions to make it closer to the GA status. --(comparingChinese Wikipedia vs Baidu Baike by hanteng) 13:13, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Ereased part of EARLY CUSTOMES[edit]

It is false that when America was colonized and later evangelized, Catholicism or Christianity was implanted "umodified". It was so much modified that indigenous practices continued under the disguise of Christian rites. Examples vary and remain up today, like the Day of the Death in Mexico.

Christian faith had to be blended also to many of the Native American´s vocabulary and customes. Not for nothing in Mexico (where I am from) almost every chapel or church from the XVI century is over an indigenous temple or ruins. The reason? The native Americans still went to pray to their monoliths, so, the missionaries buried those monoliths under the church´s grounds or crosses in the patios so the people went to the church and "hear the word of God" -- (talk) 21:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)


We are told that Spain and Portugal used force in America. Nothing is said about the use of force in the same area by England. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

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Dissolution of Jesuits[edit]

I have just removed the following short section from the article: {{see also|Jesuit China missions|Suppression of the Jesuits}} [[Pope Clement XIV]] dissolved the [[Society of Jesuits]] in 1773, on the issue over Jesuit accommodation policy; in particular, the 1773 decree did not accept that Chinese Rites can be placed on equal footing with Europe and Christianity.<ref name="BrownTackett2006-a">{{cite book|author1=Stewart J. Brown|author2=Timothy Tackett|title=Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 7, Enlightenment, Reawakening and Revolution 1660-1815|url=|accessdate=4 March 2013|year=2006|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-81605-2|page=463|quote = According to the 1773 decree, in which Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Society of Jesuits, the key issue was the Jesuit accommodation policy; it was unacceptable for the Jesuits to have placed China and Confucianism on equal footing with Europe and Christianity.}}</ref>

This does not warrant a action of its own, and the claim that the main reason for suppressing the Jesuits was the rites controversy is incorrect as can be seen by reading the papal brief referred to, Dominis ad redemptor. Mccapra (talk) 06:01, 22 January 2017 (UTC)


The current title makes no sense. "Chinese Rites" is not a title or proper name: they're just the traditional rites of the people of China. The controversy itself could be a proper name but we seem divided about this. There's Investiture Controversy, Archpriest Controversy, and Antinomian Controversy but Osiandrian controversy, Vestments controversy, Essjay controversy, Engagement controversy, Easter controversy, &c. Perhaps the best thing would be to keep this page similar to the Great Rites Controversy, but the caps seem more natural there. — LlywelynII 03:36, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

If you google it it's clear that the article is using the generally-accepted Englueh language term.Mccapra (talk) 04:43, 16 May 2017 (UTC)