Confucianism and Interreligious Dialogue about Mary

Confucianism


Confucianism
is the term used by Westerners to indicate a Chinese school of thought, school of literary men, which established itself around the work of Confucius (551-479 B.C.). He cannot be considered its founder as Buddha or Christ, but as the organizer and re-arranger of a vast heritage (social orders, culture), asset of the ancient Chinese religion, which in a particular moment of the turbulent life of this country became a dam to contain moral and spiritual disintegration.12 Many Confucians believe that Confucianism is a way of life,13 a code of social and moral behavior, more than a religion. Therefore, it is not necessary to believe in any god. They can follow their teacher, Confucius, and at the same time profess another religion.

How to speak about Mary

Confucianism is an absolutely male religion. We can, however, mention Mary as a Mother to respect, because they have the duty to honor parents and ancestors. One must avoid emphasizing Mary's virginity. Confucians must marry in order to bring children into the world in honor of their ancestors and to continue their generation. Naturally they consider the family as very important, from whom they have derived their virtue. We can mention Mary as a family mother, who gives birth and educates children.


12 BREEZE F., Le grandi religioni, p. 49.
13 We distinguish five moral principles conceived as fundamental relations: 1. Reciprocal love among parents and children, 2. A relationship based on justice among rulers and their subjects, 3. Mutual respect between man and woman based on tradition and customs, 4. Respect to pay to elders by youth, 5. Loyalty between friends.

– This presentation was made by Dr. Choi Kyong Sun. It is a partial and modified text of observations developed in her dissertation, "Inculturation della chiesa Cattolica e Pietà mariana in Corea," (Dissertation Marianum, Rome 2001).

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