This article focuses on three distinctive features of the revival of Catholicism in China: its relatively slow rate of increase, compared with other forms of Chinese religiosity; its relatively intense internal and external conflicts; and its peculiar mix of antagonism and co-operation with the government. These are explained in terms of three interpenetrating layers of the Chinese Catholic community: its priestly, sacramental religious vision, its social embodiment in rural society, and the legacy of political conflict between the Vatican and the PRC government. Though intimately interconnected, these layers of the Catholic Church have each developed at different paces and in somewhat different directions. The effects of this are seen most clearly in the problems faced by Chinese priests.
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