Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Ecclesiastical Colony: China's Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Ecclesiastical Colony: China's Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate

Article excerpt

Ecclesiastical Colony: China's Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate.

By Ernest P. Young. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2013. Pp. xii, 383. $74/47.99 [pounds sterling].

Ernest Young has written a superb and impressively researched account of the French Religious Protectorate--one of the central aspects of Catholic missions in China from the middle of the nineteenth century to the start of the Communist era. Young argues that this unilateral policy of the French government, whereby it declared itself the defender of all Catholic interests in China as a way to enhance its power and prestige, was an important factor embittering Sino Western relations during this period. Drawing on a rich variety of sources--Vatican documents, archival records for several European Catholic orders with a major presence in China, diplomatic correspondence, and more--the author constructs a compelling narrative of the origins and operation of this policy and the negative impact it had on the development of the Catholic Church in China. …

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