[the Chinese] could certainly become Christians, since the essence of their doctrine contains nothing contrary to the essence of the Catholic faith

Matteo Ricci

The missionary work done in China during the sixteenth century illustrates both the tragic insensitivity to culture and the deep appreciation for another body of tradition and practice which can attend evangelical efforts. The first generations of Jesuits in the region were committed to bringing the forms of Counter Reformation Christianity to the East, which meant adhering strictly to the Roman Catholic liturgy, forbidding use of the Chinese vernacular in worship, and enforcing the use of Latin. With the arrival of Matteo Ricci in 1582, however, Christian missions in China took on a new sensitivity to the uniqueness of Chinese culture. Ricci took on the habit of a Buddhist monk, and later the garb of a Confucian scholar. He became renowned for his knowledge of Chinese literature and history; and throughout his work, he cultivated a deep respect for Chinese tradition, which he saw as nourishing his own Christian faith.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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