Ratio eorum

The full title is "Ratio eorum quae a Patribus Societatis Iesu et Christianis Sinensibus in Imperium Sinarum eri solita sunt a Patre Michaele Boym Polono Societatis Iesu 4 votorum professo Sinico Missionario delucide proposita".

It is the third of the important and never published manuscripts of Boym, a 58-page text concerning the dispute over the Chinese rite. It was preceded by a short letter addressed to the academic community of the University of Douai in France. Boym sent him from Venice shortly after returning to Europe on December 23, 1652. The manuscript is in the archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

Its purpose was to defend the activities of the missionaries of the Society of Jesus in the Middle Kingdom, in particular, the so-called "Chinese Rites", or "acculturation", that is, the adoption of elements of Chinese culture in Catholic teaching and a proper understanding of the Confucian concept of respect for ancestors. The text is divided into 13 parts, preceded by a preface. Copies of this manuscript were most likely sent by the author (in full or short version - as "Summarium eorum quae P. Michael Boyen propit theologis examinanda") to several other European universities and Jesuit colleges. Unfortunately, in doing so, Boym ignored the discipline of the order, which required permission from his superiors to publish works, especially on subjects as delicate as those of the rite.

Boym wanted this text, dealing with the important issues of the rituals in honor of Confucius and ancestors, the key to the so-called dispute over Chinese rites, to be presented to the Pope and Sacrum Ocium, and later published. However, this time, internal religious censorship was an obstacle, which considered the work to be politically incorrect at the time. The fact that the thesis was sent to academic institutions in France, with which the Holy See had tense relations at the time, and the protector of Boym, who enabled him an audience with the Doge of the Venetian Republic, was the French diplomat Rene de Voyager de Paulmy, to no avail.

The French translation of this work was not published in Paris until 1962. It is located at the Bibliotheque Royale de Belgique in Brussels, Section des Manuscrits, Jesuitiennes Archives collection, Prov. Flandre-Belgique, reference number 1431-1437

Meanwhile, a manuscript by Martini depicting his point of view on the same issues, entitled "Brevis relatio de numero et qualitate Christianorum in Regno Sinarum", gained the censor`s full approval almost on the same day and was soon published.