Book of the Week: “Ecclesiastical Colony. China’s Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate.”

 

Description from the Publisher:
The French Religious Protectorate was an institutionalized and enduring policy of the French government, based on a claim by the French state to be guardian of all Catholics in China. The expansive nature of the Protectorate’s claim across nationalities elicited opposition from official and ordinary Chinese, other foreign countries, and even the pope. Yet French authorities believed their Protectorate was essential to their political prominence in the country. This book examines the dynamics of the French policy, the supporting role played in it by ecclesiastical authority, and its function in embittering Sino-foreign relations.

In the 1910s, the dissidence of some missionaries and Chinese Catholics introduced turmoil inside the church itself. The rebels viewed the link between French power and the foreign-run church as prejudicial to the evangelistic project. The issue came into the open in 1916, when French authorities seized territory in the city of Tianjin on the grounds of protecting Catholics. In response, many Catholics joined in a campaign of patriotic protest, which became linked to a movement to end the subordination of the Chinese Catholic clergy to foreign missionaries and to appoint Chinese bishops.

With new leadership in the Vatican sympathetic to reforms, serious steps were taken from the late 1910s to establish a Chinese-led church, but foreign bishops, their missionary societies, and the French government fought back. During the 1930s, the effort to create an indigenous church stalled. It was less than halfway to realization when the Chinese Communist Party took power in 1949. Ecclesiastical Colony reveals the powerful personalities, major debates, and complex series of events behind the turmoil that characterized the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century experience of the Catholic church in China.
Features
The first complete history of the French Religious Protectorate in China
New material on Catholic dissent from the policies of the mission establishment, including little-heard Chinese Catholic voices
Reviews
“Ecclesiastical Colony is a fascinating study of the system of foreign privilege institutionalized in China through the French Religious Protectorate of the Catholic church. Ernest Young’s astute use of the voluminous archival record provides a vivid account of the church’s slow and painful progress toward indigenization.” –Joseph W. Esherick, Professor Emeritus of History, University of California, San Diego

“A tour de force, Ecclesiastical Colony is the best overall synthesis of the history of Catholicism in modern China, between the Opium Wars in the mid-nineteenth century to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. The genius of Young’s study is to focus on perhaps the central aspect of this history: the declaration of political protection for all Catholic missionaries, regardless of nationality, by a French diplomacy in China that was backed up by the use of force. Ecclesiastical Colony is an original and deep work of scholarship that will be one of the best books in the field in a long time.” –R. Po-chia Hsia, author of A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci, 1552-1610

Product Details
408 pages; 11 b/w halftones; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-992462-2
ISBN10: 0-19-992462-7

About the Author(s)
Ernest P. Young is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Michigan and author of The Presidency of Yuan Shih-K

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