China’s Old Churches, by Alan Sweeten, surveys the history of Catholicism in China (1600 to the present) as reflected by the location, style, and details of sacred structures in three crucial areas of north China. Closely examined are the most famous and important churches in the urban settings of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as lesser-known ones in rural Hebei Province.
Missionaries built Western-looking churches to make a broad religious statement important to themselves and Chinese worshippers. Non-Catholics, however, tended to see churches as sociopolitically foreign and culturally invasive. The physical-visual impact of church buildings is significant. Today, restored old churches and new sacred structures are still mostly of Western style, but often include a sacred grotto dedicated to Our Lady of China--a growing number of Catholics supporting Marian-centered activities.
A Companion to the Early Modern Cardinal is the first comprehensive overview of its subject in English or any language. Cardinals are best known as the pope’s electors, but in the centuries from 1400 to 1800 they were so much more: pastors, inquisitors, diplomats, bureaucrats, statesmen, saints; entrepreneurs and investors; patrons of the arts, of music, literature, and science. Thirty-five essays explain their social background, positions and roles in Rome and beyond, and what they meant for wider society. This volume shows the impact which those men who took up the purple had in their respective fields and how their tenure of office shaped the entangled histories of Rome and the Catholic Church from a European and global perspective.