Religion: Rome in China

The Roman Catholic Church was willing to go halfway or better. If accepting Chinese ways and customs would help win China to Rome, then those ways and customs would be accepted. It was not a new idea. In the 17th Century, Pope Paul V gave Jesuit missionaries permission to say Mass in Chinese.* But the permission was soon withdrawn, and Pope Clement XI later forbade some of the native customs which the Jesuits had allowed converts to retain.

Many signs now point to the Church's swing back. At weddings and funerals Chinese Catholics may bow to tablets bearing the names of ancestors—if...

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