Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon

Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon

Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon

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Charles-Thomas (Carlo Tomaso) Maillard De Tournon (December 21, 1668 – June 10, 1710) was a papal legate and cardinal to the East Indies and China.


He was born of a noble Savoyard family at Turin on 21 December 1668; died in confinement at Macau, 8 June 1710. After graduating in canon and civil law he went to Rome where he gained the esteem of Clement XI, who on 5 December 1701, appointed him legate a latere to the East Indies and to imperial China. The purpose of this legation was to establish harmony among the missionaries there; to provide for the needs of these extensive missions; to report to the Holy See on the general state of the missions, and the labours of the missionaries and to enforce the decision of the Holy Office against the further toleration of the so-called Chinese rites among the native Christians. These rites consisted chiefly in offering sacrifices to Confucius and the ancestors, and in using the Chinese names tian (heaven) and shangdi (supreme emperor) for the God of the Christians. On 27 December 1701, the pope consecrated Tournon bishop in the Vatican Basilica, with the title of Patriarch of Antioch.

The legate left Europe on the royal French vessel Maurepas on 9 February 1703, arriving at Pondicherry in India on 6 November 1703. On 23 June 1704 he issued at this place the decree Inter graviores, summarily forbidding the missionaries under severe censures to permit the further practice of the Malabar rites.

On 11 July 1704, he set sail...
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