Father Matteo Ricci, example of balance between faith and science – SRM Science and Religion in the Media

Pope Francis: Father Matteo Ricci is an example of apostolic zeal, between faith and reason.

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, during the catechesis held in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis stressed the importance of apostolic zeal, taking Matteo Ricci as an example as a witness to this zeal and dialogue. Ricci, an Italian who went to China as a missionary, succeeded in spreading the Christian faith through dialogue and friendship with the Chinese people.

A man who was at once a mathematician, geographer, Jesuit father, and missionary, he combined Western and Eastern culture, especially China. With these few words we can explain the personality and importance of Father Matteo Ricci, a man of science and faith, declared Servant of God on April 19, 1984. A symbolic figure for the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the relationship between two civilizations and cultures very far from each other, not only geographically: Europe and China.

Ricci was at the same time a mathematician, geographer, Jesuit father and missionary, who combined Western and Eastern culture, especially China. With these few words we can explain the personality and importance of Father Matteo Ricci, a man of science and faith, declared Servant of God on April 19, 1984. A symbolic figure for the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the relationship between two civilizations and cultures very far from each other, not only geographically: Europe and China.

He carefully studied the Chinese language and culture, and adopted a lifestyle similar to the Chinese literati in order to better integrate into society. He used his scientific knowledge to arouse interest and admiration, introducing the world to the Chinese and sharing concepts of mathematics and astronomy. But his deeper motive was to proclaim the gospel, which he bore witness to by his life and faith. The consistency between his words and his deeds attracted many people to the Catholic faith.

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Pope Francis has stressed the importance of witnessing consistency for all Christians dedicated to evangelization. He urged the faithful to live what they profess and not to confine themselves to superficial faith. He concluded his speech by recalling Matteo Ricci’s position shortly before his death, when he thought of the joy of reaching God and the sadness of leaving his companions in the mission. An attitude of service that the Holy Father compared to the example of the Apostle Paul.

Photo: Father Matteo Ricci, Wikipedia source.

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