In a sign of improving relations between China and the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, conducted an exclusive interview with the Chinese paper Global Times.
"[T]here should not be a surprise if there is criticism, which can arise either in the church or in China or from elsewhere, of an opening which can appear unprecedented after such a long period of confrontation," Cardinal Parolin told the paper. "Indeed, it seems to me human and Christian to show understanding, attention and respect for those who express such criticism.
"Of course, not all problems have been resolved. Many questions still need to be addressed and we are facing them with willingness and determination."
The Q&A dealt with a pending deal between China and the Holy See, Cardinal Parolin's involvement in the negotiations, and his take on China's sinicization of religions.
"Inculturation is an essential condition for a sound proclamation of the Gospel which, in order to bear fruit, requires, on the one hand, safeguarding its authentic purity and integrity and, on the other, presenting it according to the particular experience of each people and culture," he told the Global Times. ". . . For the future, it will certainly be important to deepen this theme, especially the relationship between 'inculturation' and 'sinicization,' keeping in mind how the Chinese leadership has been able to reiterate their willingness not to undermine the nature and the doctrine of each religion.
"These two terms, 'inculturation' and 'sinicization,' refer to each other without confusion and without opposition: in some ways, they can be complementary and can open avenues for dialogue on the religious and cultural level."
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