Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

God Aboveground: Catholic Church, Postsocialist State, and Transnational Processes in a Chinese Village

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

God Aboveground: Catholic Church, Postsocialist State, and Transnational Processes in a Chinese Village

Article excerpt

Chinese God Aboveground: Catholic Church, Postsocialist State, and Transnational Processes in a Chinese Village. By Eriberto P Lozada, Jr. (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 2001. Pp. xiii, 250. $45.00.)

Contemporary observers of Chinese Catholicism will find much to ponder in this 1990's interdisciplinary case-study of a rural Hakka village in Guangdong province, Eriberto R Lozada, Jr., an anthropologist, urges the reader to agree with his conclusion that " [t]he highly diverse situations of Catholics throughout China cannot be easily reduced to the dichotomy of an antagonistic church versus a persecuting state. Nor can Chinese Catholics be easily sorted into 'real' Catholics loyal to the pope, following the dominant Catholic tradition, versus Catholics who collaborate with the state" (p. 201).

At least two points accentuate his argument. First, it is my view that the title GodAboveground offers the reader a direct challenge. Reinterpret the modern Chinese Catholic narrative so that the faith of underground Catholic Church members caught in the web of continual post-1949 sufferings be understood in conjunction with their Chinese Catholic counterparts who have openly expressed their faith. Second, the consistent use of the pseudonym "Little Rome" for the Hakka village subtly stretches the reader to regularly contemplate the transnational character of Roman Catholicism. To make his case, Lozada employs anthropology, sociology, theology, and political science-within a large historical context.

The first two chapters explain the investigative style of his Catholic inquiry into Little Rome and an overview of Chinese religious culture a la popular religion, Marian devotions, and Buddhism. Chapter three describes the building, financing, and dedication of the new Catholic Church in Little Rome. …

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