In this special edition of RC we are commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of St. Paul's College, the first Western University to be established in Asia. Built against one of the hillside slopes of the City of the Name of God, we in Macao take a legitimate pride in the celebration of this venerably prestigious Institution.
The College of The Church of Mother God must to be examined as a direct consequence of a formidable project of interaction between civilisations emerging from the politics of Cultural adjustment which was conceived by S. Francis Xavier, progressively and tenaciously fostered by Valignano and later genially implemented by Mateo Ricci.
Throughout three centuries, mainly between 1592 and 1772, successive generations of Jesuit missionaries had leading roles in the shaping of World History via their Catholic evangelisation and exchange of knowledge when in contact with other Civilisations.
Indeed, the German historian Wolfgang Reinhard, referring to the politics of Cultural adjustment persued by the Jesuits, considered them an exceptional contemporary alternative to the brutal ethnocentrism of European Worldwide expansion.
The greatest sinologer of this century, Joseph Needham (as such acknowledged by the Government of the People's Republic of China), qualified the role of the Jesuits at the Imperial Court of Beijing as the most unique historical phenomenon of cross-Cultural encounter in the History.
At Macerata in 1982, and on the occasion of the fourth centenary celebrations of Matteo Ricci's arrival in China, Pope John Paul II acknowledged that "the Italian missionary's vast and profound knowledge of classic Chinese Culture had enabled him to make use of the Jesuit's Residence and St. Paul's College in Macao as a bridge between European and Chinese Civilizations."
In fact, so far the purposefulness and this grand Jesuit project initiated here in Macao at the end of sixteenth century has not yet been surpassed. More than ever, when the threat of a general implosion of Cultural counterparts looms over the twenty-first century, that experience gains in momentum as a most remarkable episode amongst pioneering efforts in pursuit of a comprehensive global exchange of Cultures.
With this volume exclusively and worthily dedicated to the Jesuits, RC, the 'mouthpiece' of the Cultural Institute of Macao, wishes to honour them. Theirs is a remarkable institution, displaying exceptional integrity and diversity of approaches to all Cultures in the History of Humankind. To be honouring this Institution, whilst commemorating the past, is also looking forward to the future.
Consecrating Macao as a universal platform for intercontinental teaching and learning, the Jesuits became, and will always hopefully remain, linked to this Portuguese Emporium's inception, as a Luso-Asiatic project, as it was founded and has been continuously upheld.
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