Sacred Space reaches the People's Republic of China

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become the latest area of the world to be reached by Sacred Space, the interactive website for guided prayer developed by the Jesuits in Britain and Ireland. From this month, it is accessible in the version of Chinese characters introduced by Mao Zedong in script commonly used across the country, facilitated by UCAN, the Union of Catholic Asia News.

Sacred Space is much loved around the world,” said Father Michael Kelly SJ, Executive Director of UCAN. “Tens of thousands access the site in 20 languages and it seemed to me a real waste to have this great aid to deepening our engagement with God not available to the growing number of Christians in the PRC.”

Sacred Space is one of the world’s leading interactive websites for guided prayer, with more than half a million visitors a month led through the Ignatian Examination of Conscience (Examen). On weekdays, almost 20,000 visitors follow the prayerful process online. But two problems prevented access from the PRC: the content was not in the script used in China and China’s Great Fire Wall meant that even the content in traditional characters was blocked because it was available only on a site with a URL in Taiwan.

“The Chinese cyber police blocked it,” explained Father Kelly. “These problems were easily solved – by having the traditional characters changed to simplified characters through widely available technology; and by having the content hosted on a URL that won’t upset the Chinese authorities. What we now have is the prayer content available in a script used in China and available on a URL that isn’t blocked.”

Sacred Space was first developed in 1999 by British Jesuit Fr Peter Scally SJ of Jesuit Media Initiatives, in association with the Jesuits in Ireland. Visit it here.