International conference “Fujian’s Maritime Connections and Local Popular Cults”

Anthony Hu :

“Encounters between Catholic Mission Activities and Popular Beliefs Practiced in Fujian during the Late Ming and Early Qing Periods: A Study based on Kouduo richao 口鐸日抄

Paper presented at the international conference “Fujian’s Maritime Connections and Local Popular Cults,”
University of Bonn, July 19–20, 2019.


This paper centers on the issue of how the early Catholic missionaries acknowledged and dealt with the popular gods and goddesses in Fujian at the end of the Ming and the beginning of the Qing dynasty. Applying the method of case study, Giulio Aleni’s basic approach to the Chinese folk beliefs will be examined as given in the Kouduo richao, the collected records of short sermons and conversations mainly conducted by Aleni and compiled by Li Jiubiao (1630–1640). Since there is no record mentioning the native popular deities such as Mazu 媽祖 in Fujian to be found in the book, the presenter proposes two reasons, external and internal. The former links to the sociopolitical situation Aleni was facing, the latter to his missionary goal of introducing the Christian concept of sainthood to the Chinese converts. The case of Aleni shows an attempt to establish a system of popular Christian beliefs. (The complete paper is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming conference proceeding.)