Is it ok for Catholics to follow Confucianism?

Is it ok? I mean the philosophy on education is something that I find rather compelling. Plus while it is considered a religion and philosophy there isn’t any teaching on the supernatural which seems like I can still believe in God and his Church.

Why on earth would a catholic want to? Aren’t you guys always saying that your church has the fullness of the Gospel?

I understand in Korea many were converted from Confucianism by a Korean diplomat who learned Christianity from Matteo Richi a Jesuit missionary, some centuries ago, so perhaps they found Catholicism was better. Unfortunately many Korean converts were killed off.

As I know practically nothing about Confucius and his teachings, Id rather let more “experts” weigh on this. That said, Jesus’ is the my only light, his path “the narrow” one is harder but more enlightening. :smiley:


You are part of the Church which is guided by the Spirit? Do you trust the Church’s teaching authority to guide you?

In Confucianism there is much to admire. It has taught a noble conception of the supreme Heaven-god. It has inculcated a remarkably high standard of morality. It has prompted, as far as it knew how, the refining influence of literary education and of polite conduct. But it stands today encumbered with the serious defects that characterize the imperfect civilization of its early development.

The association of T’ien with innumerable nature-spirits, spirits of sun, moon, and stars, of hills and fields and rivers, the superstitious use of divination by means of stalks and tortoise shells, and the crude notion that the higher spirits, together with the souls of the dead, are regaled by splendid banquets and food-offerings, cannot stand the test of intelligent modern criticism. Nor can a religion answer fully to the religious needs of the heart which withdraws from the active participation of the people the solemn worship of the deity, which has little use of prayer, which recognizes no such thing as grace, which has no definite teaching in regard to the future life. As a social system it has lifted the Chinese to an intermediate grade of culture, but has blocked for ages all further progress. In its rigid insistence on rites and customs that tend to perpetuate the patriarchal system with its attendant evils of polygamy and divorce, of excessive seclusion and repression of women, of an undue hampering of individual freedom, Confucianism stands in painful contrast with progressive Christian civilization.

I think it would help you if you read Fr. Hardon on this. It’s long but Fr. Hardon is thorough and excellent:

Confucianism Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives

I would recommend you follow Catholicism instead.

I am a Catholic and I find that just trying to read the bible and understand it, along with the Chaticisum of the Catholic Church is enough for me. You must be careful when searching for answers to theological questions, remember we were warned in the bible of false Prophets and there are many. Since joining Lighthouse Catholic Media as an account manager, I have more than enough to keep me busy reading books and listening to CDs I obtain through Lighthouse.

Have you guys ever been to an Asian (Vietnamese/Korean) Catholic community? Confucianism is alive and well there. They still keep many of Confucius’ teachings.

I spent several years living in Asia, Japan specifically, but traveled to various countries to include several trips to Korea. Just because this practice is found there in no way makes it worthy and acceptable. Many people in Asia feel there is some truth in all religions and all are acceptable. Or course, we understand the dangers of this philosophy and realize its nothing more than universalism and an older version of the “coexist” bumper stickers.

I suggest one must choose their faith clearly rather than muddy the water in the concern one isn’t wholly, completely correct, or for the “just in case” factor.

=adawgj;11741244]Is it ok? I mean the philosophy on education is something that I find rather compelling. Plus while it is considered a religion and philosophy there isn’t any teaching on the supernatural which seems like I can still believe in God and his Church.


One God can and does have only One true Faith

& following OT Traditions of just “One Chosen people” FOUNDED only One Church, Today’s Catholic Church.

Have you REALLY studied our catholic Faith; our origins and history? That dear freind is awesome and compelling.

Don’t LOOK for trouble and you’re far less likely to find it:)

I have read and studied our faith which has reverted me to be more faithful. However how does our history reflect on the eastern religions which have been around for centuries and have completely different ways of thinking.

I think that part of the problem here is your asking is it OK to “follow” Confucianism.
This perhaps give more of a sense of embracing the whole of the tradition - of trying to be two things - Catholic and Confucian - which of course cannot work.
Jesus tells us we cannot serve two masters.

Now if your meaning is more along the lines of, can one look at another faith (from a Catholic perspective), and recognize that which is good in it - - then the answer is yes.

Just my 2 cents


Keeping in mind what was said above, I think for example you could read the China influence in Vietnam up through the Ming dynasty with indigenous religions Confucianism, Buddhism etc. Then you can track the Catholic Church to the Protestant Church for example from the French, Jesuits, Dominican and through the land ownership issues religious freedom and tolerance. What I think occurs in the Catholic and Protestant influence is seen in the Confucianism, how it interacts in the Catholic church I think I see the Catholic Church as more exclusive yet still with the ability for example of embracing natural native cultures, such as Africa or elsewhere.

The situation today can be probably described as better, this can be read from Pope Paul VI and right after the Paris peace talk right up through Benedict as far as the relationship with Catholicism in the country,

=adawgj;11745406]I have read and studied our faith which has reverted me to be more faithful. However how does our history reflect on the eastern religions which have been around for centuries and have completely different ways of thinking.

Its a good question.

Know that I have great love and reverence for our Eastern Brethren in Schism.

Their are IMO two points to recall in answering your question:

  1. Prior to the GREAT Schism where some of the Eastern Churches pulled away from the RCC; they were a part of it and all of its teachings and beliefs. Yes there was some friction.

  2. So WHY where they a PART OF the RCC for nearly 1,000 years? BEcause

    True God in only One

    God’s Faith has always been limited to just One

    And following OT practice and Tradition of just One chosen people; Christ Founded ONLY One Church. Todays RCC.

    Because they too have direct Apostolic Succession their Sacraments are valid; but that does not mean that they have the same level of protection and guidance as does the RCC who alone HOLD all of the keys to salvations gate. Matthew 16:15-16 is notably SINGULAR tense: “you Peter; & MY Church.”::slight_smile:

I hope this answers your question?

God Bless you,

And is it OK for an NFL player to use a baseball bat during the Superbowl? If he is skillful with the bat, why deny him the pleasure?

Following two religions is like having two wives. You will end up hating the one and loving the other. Accepting all religions as valid is like having many wives but no wives, you have no special relationship or commitment or love or desire.

Every one on this thread dosnt seam to understand what Confucianism is. Have any of you eve read his works?

Confucianism is a moral code and philosophy geared mostly towards the benefits of education and just government. Confucianism is found across the Far East, but noone worships Confucius, infact most Confucians are actualy Budhists.

While Confucius did profes strong religious beliefs in Chinese folk religion his main purpose in terms of that was to stop moral collapse which he saw in his society, one could easily replace the Chinese diety Heaven with Christ and it would sound like much of what christians claim about modern society.

I see no reason why you could not dedicate yourself to he principals of Confucius and sill be Christian.

And someone earlier said something about Confucian converts? Again its not a religion, in the Far East again most followers of Confucius are Budhist.

Ultimately Confucianism isn’t a religion it’s a philosophical position abot order and fighting government corruption. Proper society laid out step by step, like the “Art of War” for beauracracy and social order.

Ditto the prior poster. Many people are are assuming that Confucianism is a religion. That would be a false assumption.

That could also describe the communist manifesto.:slight_smile:

All religions have philosophies attached to them, not just a point of worship. Confucianism though not a religion in itself is usually annexed to a religion. As is yoga. Christianity also contains philosophies, and some can follow those philosophies without worshiping God.

Philosophies can contradict, the Christian philosophy of love, the Buddhist philosophy that love is a hindrance to self enlightenment for instance.

I find it a thin murky line between trying to define a religion and a philosophy.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit