Papal Presence in East and South Asia: China, India and Beyond
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The papal presence in East and South Asia is limited and fragile. In China, Catholicism is seen as culturally foreign, despite the fact that Christianity has been no stranger to this ancient civilization. In India, the Catholic Church and its pontiff have to struggle with the assertion of Hindu hegemony under various guises. In addition to these longstanding cultural and political factors of marginalization, the papacy faces specific challenges at the diplomatic level. Drawing on in-depth case studies of China and India, the chapter argues that, while a tactful and diplomatic handling of the challenges may ease the situation in the short term, it seems inevitable that the Church’s cultural foreignness in East and South Asia will continue to pose severe challenges.