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Juan Bautista Morales

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Missionary, b. about 1597 at Ecija in Andalusia, Spain ; d. Fu-ning, China, 17 Sept., 1664. He entered the Ordor of St. Dominic at a very early age, and after devoting some years to missionary work in the Philippine Islands, accompanied in 1633 a band of Dominican missionaries to China, taking up their work in the province of Fu-kien. Here he took an active part in the controversy between the Jesuits on the one side and the Dominicans and Franciscans on the other, regarding Chinese customs (see CHINA). The latter maintained that the Jesuits, to win over more easily the people to the religion of Christ, tolerated to a certain extent the cult of Confucius and of ancestors; and, seeing in this alleged condescension to heathen customs, a jeopardy to the purity of the faith, they despatched Morales to Rome in 1643, and on 12 Sept., 1645, obtained from Innocent X a decision condemning the methods of the Jesuits. The latter also appealed to Rome, and obtained from Alexander VII a contradictory decree. In 1661 Morales again called the attention of the Holy See to the matter, and in 1669, five years after the death of Morales, Clement IX issued a new decree deciding against the Jesuits. About the same time the Dominicans discovered an enemy in their own ranks in the person of the Chinese friar, Gregory Lopez, Bishop of Basilea, who sent to the Holy See a memorandum favourable to the Jesuits. Among the works of Morales the following are the most important: (1) "Quaesta xvii a Fr. J.B. de Moralez, missionum sinarum procuratore, proposita Romae 1643 S. Congreg. de Prop. Fide" (Rome, 1645); (2) "Tractatus ad explicandas et elucidandas opiniones et controversias inter Patres Societatis Jesu et religiosos S. Ord. Praed."; (3) "Commentarium super Litanias B. Virginis lingua sinica"; (4) "Tractatus ad Dei amorem in voluntate excitandum, lingua sinica."


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