1st lecture on Pope Francis held in Chinese college

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/19 0:33:40

Benoit Vermander, a professor of religious studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, gives a lecture on Pope Francis and his vision at Peking University on Tuesday. Photo: Li Ruohan/GT

Peking University held a lecture on Pope Francis and his vision on Tuesday, the first of its kind at a university in China amid improved relations between China and the Vatican.

During the lecture, Benoit Vermander, a professor of religious studies at Fudan University, shared the experience of Pope Francis, and also the Pope's vision, such as his call to care for the poor and marginalized. 

He also introduced Pope's theological, ecclesiastic, social and ecological concerns and also how this Pope was different from others.  

The lecture was hosted by Peking University's department of history and attended by 40 students and teachers.  

Vermander said that a better understanding of Pope Francis' global outlook would help the Vatican and China work better together at international forums on global issues such as migration, the environment and peace education.

Pope Francis'outlook presents itself not as a " monologue"but rather as an invitation to dialogue among all stakeholders, so as to foster inventiveness, boldness of views and new initiatives, he said. 

This is the first time that such a lecture was held at a secular university in China, Wang Meixiu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.  

Such lectures could help students better understand how religious believers could help promote world peace and help build a community with a shared future for mankind, apart from what they learned in textbooks, said Wang.

Aside from religion, China, a country of 1.3 billion people, and the Vatican, the headquarters of the 1.3 billion-strong Catholic Church, have a wide range of areas for cooperation, Wang said.  

Despite the absence of diplomatic ties, China and the Vatican in September 2018 signed a landmark deal on the appointment of bishops, a thorny issue that caused decades of tension between the two sides.

With the improvement in China-Vatican relations, the two sides have been moderately engaged in activities to help know and understand each other, to find more common ground for their shared missions, such as fighting organ trafficking and promoting ecological protection.

A lecture called "Growing in Friendship - A perspective on Sino-Vatican Relations" by Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit priest, journalist and writer, is also scheduled to be held at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Thursday.  

An exhibit of 78 valuable Chinese artworks from the Vatican Museum and 12 from Beijing's Palace Museum began at the Palace Museum on May 28. The exhibit will last until July 17.  This is the first time Chinese artifacts from the Vatican Museum were brought back to their home country, which includes gifts that bear witness to centuries of China-Vatican communication and artifacts which integrate Catholic and Chinese art.

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus