28 / CHRONICLESna deity or a soul) and therefore permissible?nAs Minamiki points out, thendiscussion of this problem in somenpapal bulls and other early sourcesnanticipates Robert N. Bellah’s attemptnto define a “civil religion,” a phrasenwhich itself raises the related questionnof whether it is appropriate to speak ofna “religion” which lacks an ontology ofnthe sacred.nThe Chinese rituals in question includednburning incense and offeringnflowers and slaughtered sacrificial animalsnto Confucius in special “temples”n[miao], and bowing down or kowtowingnto images of Confucius or to “spiritntablets” {shen wei) understood to symbolizenhis presence and that of hisndisciples. Similar procedures addressednto family and clan ancestorsnwere enacted in the home before ancestralnaltars bearing spirit tablets or innthe semipublic ancestral halls. Thosenwho refused to participate in suchnrituals risked conflict with their families,ntheir communities, and indeednwith society in general. Virtual ostracismnwas a likely result. The Churchnwas thus faced with the problem ofnbalancing the desire for new convertsnof unimpeachable practice with thenrisk of antagonizing or even alienatingnan entire society, thereby endangeringnthe very enterprise of conversion.nMinamiki, limiting himself to a discussionnof the Jesuits and other Catholicnmissionaries, traces the labyrinthinenand often confusing interchangesnof views between the missionariesnin the field and the relevant papalnoffices (especially the Sacra Con-ngregatio de Propaganda Fide). Most ofnthe missionaries favored flexibility innallowing participation of their convertsnin certain rituals, but the papacynleaned toward a strict enjoinment fromnsuch participation. In a bull of 1742,nEx Quo Singulari, Benedict XIV effectivelynended the debate by decreeingnthat all missionaries to the East take annoath including the words “To the bestnof my ability I shall never allow thatnthe Chinese rites and ceremonies . . .nbe put into practice by the [Chinese]nChristians.” Various ambiguities andnqualifications in Ex Quo Singulari andnother directives were nevertheless interpretednby some missionaries as loopholesnallowing them a limited degreenof flexibility.nThe whole question resurfaced twoncenturies later when the militaristicnJapanese government and its puppetnregime in Manchukuo endeavored toncreate a state ideology by revivifying ansomewhat distorted version of Confucianismnand converts to Christianitynfound themselves pressured to participatenin various public rituals. Thisntime, the governments themselves testifiednto the purely “civil” character ofnthese rituals. In a series of decreesnculminating in 1939 in Plane compertumnest, the papacy essentially acceptednthe notion that these rites hadnnow evolved into civil and not religiousnevents (although they may havenbeen religious in nature at one point innremote history) and that convertsncould participate in them in good conscience.nPlane compertum est also nullifiednthe oath bv which missionariesnBOOKS IN BRIEF—RELIGION & PHILOSOPHYnHistory of the Concept of Time by Martin Heidegger, translated by Theodore Kisiel,nBloomington: Indiana University Press. A first English translation, with helpful notes and anglossary of terms, of a 1925 lecture course on time by one of this century’s mostnprofound—and difficult—philosophers.nThe Definition of Moral Virtue by Yves R. Simon, edited by Vukan Kuic, New York:nFordham University Press. A friend and student of Jacques Maritain provides a refreshinglynlucid look at the philosophical status of virtue and concludes that our intuitive sense (“1 smellna rat”) often proves a better guide to good and evil than any logical casuistry.nThe Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol. I, Heretics, Orthodoxy, The BhtchfordnControversies, edited by David Dooley; San Francisco: Ignatius. Two books and somencollected essays by the pugnacious Christian who shook up Fleet Street by taking on the greatnpagans of late Victorianism.nThe Bible and the Narrative Tradition, edited by Frank McConnell, New York: OxfordnUniversity Press; $16.95. Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode, Hans Frei, and others take a look atnthe Bible as poetry, rhetoric, and narrative. No wonder T. S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis both hadndoubts about the literary approach to the Bible.nnnhad pledged themselves to enjoin theirnconverts from participation in the rituals,nan oath which had continued to benadministered to new missionaries innthe course of the two precedingncenturies.nMinamiki himself is clearly on thenside of a more ecumenical approach.nHe quotes with approbation GeorgenH. Dunne’s view that papal actionsnagainst Chinese participation in Confuciannrites had been “a death blow tonthe cause of Christianity in China.”nHad Christian missionaries beennallowed freer rein in reaching accomaa^minmodation with Confucian ritual practices,nMinamiki suggests, they mightnhave been able to achieve greater successnin attracting converts. He arguesnthat “with the advance of ethnology,nsociology, and comparative religionn. . . their [the rites’] symbolism andnmeaning would not be judged simplynfrom the standpoint of European andnJudeo-Christian culture.” The implicationnseems to be that if only thenpopes and their counselors had enjoyednaccess to the insights of thesendisciplines, they might have beennmore flexible.nBut is it not possible that the popesnwere right in supposing that there actuallynis a sense of the sacred andntherefore a religious character in Confucianism?nIf this is so, then we arenfaced with the kind of hard religiousnchoice modern man prefers to avoid:nWhere are we to take our stand, givennthe virtual smorgasbord of religionsnavailable to us in the “global village”nof today? Sooner or later, we mustnconfront the question that C.S. Lewisnasked when someone told him that allnreligions worship the same God: “Yes,nbut which one?” If we cannot reconcilenourselves to the idea that onenparticular faith is right and the othersnwrong, then must we simply acceptnthem all in one vast ecumenicalnembrace?nI do not know the answer to thisnquestion. But for now I would like ton