Froissard De Broissia Charles
Froissard de Broissia Charles, a French Jesuit missionary, died October 10, 1704, near Pekin, in China, where he was laboring in the missionary work of his order. In the bitter controversy between the Dominicans anch Jesuits, (1) whether the Chinese terms Tien and Chang-ti meant the material heavens or the God of heaven, and (2) whether the ceremonial honors paid to ancestors and to Confucius are religious acts or only civil and political customs, he took an active part, and, in agreement with his colleagues, resolved these questions in the way most favorable to secure apparent success. The Jesuits, adopting the view that these terms meant the God of heaven, and that these ceremonies were simply commendable customs, not repugnant to the Catholic faith, employed Tien and Chang-ti to designate God in the Christian sense, and, following the doctrine of Escobar (q.v.), that intention gives character to the deed, allowed their converts to continue their ceremonial practices, provided they received baptism, took the name of Christians, and recognized the supremacy of their missionary teachers. The number of nominal conversions was, as might be expected great. The dispute, which excited ridicule of Christianity among the educated Chinese, was referred, on the one hand, to the Chinese emperor Khang-hi, who decided in favor of the Jesuits, and, on the other, to pope Clement XI, who decided in favor of the Doamsinican as the orthodox view. Froissard left only some fragments of translations of important Chinese works. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gener. 18:920-21.