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from issue no. 09 - 2006

The Truggio Convention

The path of realism

by Gianni Valente

The seventh European Colloquium of Catholics on China (140 participants, among whom fifty Chinese, including the auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong, and the official of the Vatican Congregation of Propaganda Fide, Matthew King), which took place from 6 to 10 September in Villa Sacro Cuore in Triuggio under the judicious direction of the PIME missionary Giancarlo Politi, was a successful attempt to describe the condition of the Chinese Catholic Church by setting aside the anti-historical Manichean interpretations deliberately circulated. Among the more appreciated papers, those from two young Chinese priests are worthy of note. John Zhang, editor of the publishing company “Fede” in the province of Hebei, documented the pastoral and administrative problems deriving from mismatch between the diocesan structure established by Pius XII in 1946 (still the reference point of the Holy See) and that effectively operative in the field, shaped over the past fifty years in line with the new borders of the territorial units of the state administration. Stephen Chen, director of the Catholic Center for Social Assistance in Xian, gave instead a picture of the multifaceted social works backed by Catholic communities in the province of Shaanxi, from the fifteen kindergartens and eighty clinics run by the nuns to the help programs for AIDS sufferers, from the small-scale bookshops inaugurated in dozens of parishes to the projects sponsored by the German charitable organization “Miserior” to provide drinking water for the inhabitants of rural areas.
The controversial node of relations between the Holy See, the Chinese Church and the Chinese government was dealt with, from various points of view, by the articulate presentations of the PIME missionary Gianni Criveller, by the Divine Word scholar Roman Malek and by Professor Agostino Giovagnoli.
At the opening of the Convention, Father Angelo Lazzarotto, another PIME missionary, gave a heartfelt commemoraion of the Italian minister Vittorino Colombo, a great worker for Rome-Beijing relations.

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