By Vatican News
Founded in 1850 by Italian Jesuits, La Civiltà Cattolica is one of the oldest periodicals in the world. On the occasion of its 170th anniversary, its new simplified Chinese edition is also being offered as a gesture of friendship, given the increasingly important role that the Chinese language plays in the contemporary world within the global context.
Parolin - fruit of a friendly encounter
In a letter to Fr. Anthony Spadaro SJ, the Director of the Jesuit periodical, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, praised the initiative, which intends to “write a new chapter - fruit of the friendly encounter with the rich tradition of the Chinese people.” He said this corresponds with the “particular vocation” of the review which is “to build bridges and to establish a dialogue with all people.”
“Therefore, I can only express from the depths of my heart my warmest best wishes and the fervent hope that your review in the Chinese language might become a solid instrument of mutual cultural and scientific enrichment,” the cardinal wrote.
The Italian journal, begun before the unification of Italy, has always enjoyed a very intimate and special relationship with the Holy See and Roman Pontiffs, promoting the dialogue between the Christian faith and contemporary culture with patience and respect.
It was precisely Pope Francis who gave La Civiltà Cattolica the model of Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) or Li Madou, as he was known in China. The Jesuit, who moved from Macerata in Italy’s Marche Region to China at the age of 30, drafted a huge map of the world in 1602, which served to create a wider understanding of the world and to connect the Chinese people with other civilizations.
In a divided world such as our own, said the journal in a press release, it is an ideal image of the harmony of a land at peace. Thus, our review desires to be in its own way a map of the world, connecting cultures and civilizations.
In 1601, Matteo Ricci also composed a treatise on friendship, which offered an opportunity for the Mandarin Chinese and the “literati” of the Ming Dynasty, to know the thinking of the great philosophers of the West. For the Jesuits and for the great scholars within Western culture, the treatise also offered the foundation for dialogue with the great intellectuals of China.
According to the Rome-based Jesuit periodical, European cultures have learned much from the great Chinese culture and from the wisdom of the Chinese, thanks to the study and the passion of the Jesuits. This is the reason why the Jesuit journal decided to start a Chinese edition.
The Chinese edition contributes to making La Civiltà Cattolica more and truly international, said the press release. For some years now, its writers are all Jesuits from different countries and continents, who offer unique and original contributions.
Since 2017, the review has been published in five different languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Korean; and now a Chinese edition.
The fortnightly review has always aimed to provide deeper assessments of topics and events of broad significance.
All the writers are Jesuits and the articles are reviewed and approved by an official of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before publication.
In his message to the journal, Pope Francis expressed hope that in its pages, “the voices of many different frontiers might be heard.” He defined the journal as “unique in its genre.”
The website address of the Chinese edition: https://www.gjwm.org. Also available as redirect are: http://www.gongjiaowenming.org and http://cn.laciviltacattolica.org The website is sub-divided in four sections: News (新闻); World (观世界); Christian Reflection (基督教文化研究); and Culture (文化及评论).
Linked to the website is the WeChat account of the review whose identification code is gjwm1850.