ON THE MISSION ACTIVITY
OF THE CHURCH
1. Divinely sent
to the nations of the world to be unto them "a universal sacrament of salvation,"(1)
the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying
the mandate of her Founder (cf. Mark 16:16), strives ever to proclaim the Gospel
to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following
in the footsteps of Christ, "preached the word of truth and begot churches."(2)
It is the duty of their successors to make this task endure "so that the word of
God may run and be glorified (2 Thess. 3:1) and the kingdom of God be proclaimed
and established throughout the world.
In the present
state of affairs, out of which there is arising a new situation for mankind, the
Church, being the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Matt.
5:13-14), is more urgently called upon to save and renew every creature, that
all things may be restored in Christ and all men may constitute one family in
Him and one people of God.
sacred synod, while rendering thanks to God for the excellent results that have
been achieved through the whole Church's great - hearted endeavor, desires to
sketch the principles of missionary activity and to rally the forces of all the
faithful in order that the people of God, marching along the narrow way of the
Cross, may spread everywhere the reign of Christ, Lord and overseer: of the ages
(cf. Ecc. 36:19), and may prepare the way for his coming.
PRINCIPLES OF DOCTRINE
2. The pilgrim
Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son
and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with
the decree of God the Father.(1)
however, flows from the "fount - like love" or charity of God the Father who,
being the "principle without principle" from whom the Son is begotten and Holy
Spirit proceeds through the Son, freely creating us on account of His surpassing
and merciful kindness and graciously calling us moreover to share with Him His
life and His cry, has generously poured out, and does not cease to pour out
still, His divine goodness. Thus He who created all things may at last be "all
in all" (1 Cor. 15:28), bringing about at one and the same time His own glory
and our happiness. But it pleased God to call men to share His life, not just
singly, apart from any mutual bond, but rather to mold them into a people in
which His sons, once scattered abroad might be gathered together (cf. John
3. This universal
design of God for the salvation of the human race is carried out not only, as it
were, secretly in the soul of a man, or by the attempts (even religious ones by
which in diverse ways it seeks after God) if perchance it may contact Him or
find Him, though He be not far from anyone of us (cf. Acts 17:27). For these
attempts need to be enlightened and healed; even though, through the kindly
workings of Divine Providence, they may sometimes serve as leading strings
toward God, or as a preparation for the Gospel.(2) Now God, in order to
establish peace or the communion of sinful human beings with Himself, as well as
to fashion them into a fraternal community, did ordain to intervene in human
history in a way both new and finally sending His Son, clothed in our flesh, in
order that through Him He might snatch men from the power of darkness and Satan
(cf. Col. 1:13; Acts 10:38) and reconcile the world to Himself in Him (cf. 2
Cor. 5:19). Him, then, by whom He made the world,(3) He appointed heir of all
things, that in Him He might restore all (cf. Eph. 1:10).
For Jesus Christ
was sent into the world as a real mediator between God and men. Since He is God,
all divine fullness dwells bodily in Him (Gal. 2:9). According to His human
nature, on the other hand, He is the new Adam, made head of a renewed humanity,
and full of grace and of truth (John 1:14). Therefore the Son of God walked the
ways of a true Incarnation that He might make men sharers in the nature of God:
made poor for our sakes, though He had been rich, in order that His poverty
might enrich us (2 Cor. 8:9). The Son of Man came not that He might be served,
but that He might be a servant, and give His life as a ransom for the many -
that is, for all (cf. Mark 10:45). The Fathers of the Church proclaim without
hesitation that what has not been taken up by Christ is not made whole.(4) Now,
what He took up was our entire human nature such as it is found among us poor
wretches, save only sin (cf. Heb. 4:15; 9.28). For Christ said concerning
Himself, He whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world (cf. John 10:36):
the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me; to bring good news to
the poor He sent me, to heal the broken - hearted, to proclaim to the captives
release, and sight to the blind" (Luke 4:18). And again: "The Son of Man has
come to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
But what the Lord
preached that one time, or what was wrought in Him for the saving of the human
race, must be spread abroad and published to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8),
beginning from Jerusalem (cf. Luke 24:27), so that what He accomplished at that
one time for the salvation of all, may in the course of time come to achieve its
effect in all.
4. To accomplish
this, Christ sent from the Father His Holy Spirit, who was to carry on inwardly
His saving work and prompt the Church to spread out. Doubtless, the Holy Spirit
was already at work in the world before Christ was glorified.(5) Yet on the day
of Pentecost, He came down upon the disciples to remain with them forever (cf.
John 14:16). The Church was publicly displayed to the multitude, the Gospel
began to spread among the nations by means of preaching, and there was presaged
that union of all peoples in the catholicity of the faith by means of the Church
of the New Covenant, a Church which speaks all tongues, understands and accepts
all tongues in her love, and so supersedes the divisiveness of Babel.(6) For it
was from Pentecost that the "Acts of the Apostles" took again, just as Christ
was - conceived when the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, and just as
Christ was impelled to the work of His ministry by the same Holy Spirit
descending upon Him while He prayed.(7)
Now, the Lord
Jesus, before freely giving His life for the world, did so arrange the Apostles'
ministry and promise to send the Holy Spirit that both they and the Spirit might
be associated in effecting the work of salvation always and everywhere.(8)
Throughout all ages, the Holy Spirit makes the entire Church "one in communion
and in ministering; He equips her with various gifts of a hierarchical and
charismatic nature," a giving life, soul - like, to ecclesiastical
institutions(10) and instilling into the hearts of the faithful the same mission
spirit which impelled Christ Himself. Sometimes He even visibly anticipates the
Apostles' acting,(11) just as He unceasingly accompanies and directs it in
5. From the very
beginning, the Lord Jesus "called to Himself those whom He wished; and He caused
twelve of them to be with Him, and to be sent out preaching (Mark 3:13; cf.
Matt. 10:1-42). Thus the Apostles were the first budding - forth of the New
Israel, and at the same time the beginning of the sacred hierarchy. Then, when
He had by His death and His resurrection completed once for all in Himself the
mysteries of our salvation and the renewal of all things, the Lord, having now
received all power in heaven and on earth (cf. Matt. 28 18), before He was taken
up into heaven (cf. Acts 1:11), founded His Church as the sacrament of salvation
and sent His Apostles into all the world just as He Himself had been sent by His
Father (cf. John 20:21), commanding them: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of
a nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt.
28:19 ff.). "Go into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature. He
who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe, shall
be condemned" (Mark 16:15ff.). Whence the duty that lies on the Church of
spreading the faith and the salvation of Christ, not only in virtue of the
express command which was inherited from the Apostles by the order of bishops,
assisted by the priests, together with the successor of Peter and supreme
shepherd of the Church, but also in virtue of that life which flows from Christ
into His members; "From Him the whole body, being closely joined and knit
together through every joint of the system, according to the functioning in due
measure of each single part, derives its increase to the building up of itself
in love" (Eph. 4:16). The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that
activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the
grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order
that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and
other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace
of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full
participation in the mystery of Christ.
Since this mission
goes on and in the course of history unfolds the mission of Christ Himself, who
was sent to preach the Gospel to the poor, the Church, prompted by the Holy
Spirit, must walk in the same path on which Christ walked: a path of poverty and
obedience, of service and self - sacrifice to the death, from which death He
came forth a victor by His resurrection. For thus did all the Apostles walk in
hope, and by many trials and sufferings they filled up those things wanting to
the Passion of Christ for His body which is the Church (cf. Col. 1:24). For
often, the blood of Christians was like a seed.(13)
6. This duty, to
be fulfilled by the order of bishops, under the successor of Peter and with the
prayers and help of the whole Church, is one and the same everywhere and in
every condition, even though it may be carried out differently according to
circumstances. Hence, the differences recognizable in this, the Church's
activity, are not due to the inner nature of the mission itself, but rather to
the circumstances in which this mission is exercised.
circumstances in turn depend sometimes on the Church, sometimes on the peoples
or groups or men to whom the mission is directed. For the Church, although of
itself including the totality or fullness of the means of salvation, does not
and cannot always and instantly bring them all into action. Rather, she
experiences beginnings and degrees in that action by which she strives to make
God's plan a reality. In fact, there are times when, after a happy beginning,
she must again lament a setback, or at least must linger in a certain state of
unfinished insufficiency. As for the men, groups and peoples concerned, only by
degrees does she touch and pervade them, and thus take them up into full
catholicity. The right sort of means and actions must be suited to any state or
"Missions" is the
term usually given to those particular undertakings by which the heralds of the
Gospel, sent out by the Church and going forth into the whole world, carry out
the task of preaching the Gospel and planting the Church among peoples or groups
who do not yet believe in Christ. These undertakings are brought to completion
by missionary activity and are mostly exercised in certain territories
recognized by the Holy See. The proper purpose of this missionary activity is
evangelization, and the planting of the Church among those peoples and groups
where it has not yet taken root.(14) Thus from the seed which is the word of
God, particular autochthonous churches should be sufficiently established and
should grow up all over the world, endowed with their own maturity and vital
forces. Under a hierarchy of their own, together with the faithful people, and
adequately fitted out with requisites for living a full Christian life, they
should make their contribution to the good of the whole Church. The chief means
of the planting referred to is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To
preach this Gospel the Lord sent forth His disciples into the whole world, that
being reborn by the word of God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23), men might be joined to the
Church through baptism - that Church which, as the body of the Word Incarnate,
is nourished and lives by the word of God and by the eucharistic bread (cf. Acts
In this missionary
activity of the Church various stages sometimes are found side by side: first,
that of the beginning or planting, then that of newness or youth. When these
have passed, the Church's missionary activity does not cease, but there lies
upon the particular churches already set up the duty of continuing this activity
and of preaching the Gospel to those still outside.
groups among which the Church dwells are often radically changed, for one reason
or other, so that an entirely new set of circumstances may arise. Then the
Church must deliberate whether these conditions might again call for her
missionary activity. Besides, circumstances are sometimes such that, for the
time being, there is no possibility of expounding the Gospel directly and
forthwith. Then, of course, missionaries can and must at least bear witness to
Christ by charity and by works of mercy, with all patience, prudence and great
confidence. Thus they will prepare the way for the Lord and make Him somehow
Thus it is plain
that missionary activity wells up from the Church's inner nature and spreads
abroad her saving Faith. It perfects her Catholic unity by this expansion. It is
sustained by her apostolicity. It exercises the collegial spirit of her
hierarchy. It bears witness to her sanctity while spreading and promoting it.
Thus, missionary activity among the nations differs from pastoral activity
exercised among the faithful as well as from undertakings aimed at restoring
unity among Christians. And yet these two ends are most closely connected with
the missionary zeal(15) because the division among Christians damages the most
holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature(16) and blocks the way to
the faith for many. Hence, by the very necessity of mission, all the baptized
are called to gather into one flock, and thus they will be able to bear
unanimous witness before the nations to Christ their Lord. And if they are not
yet capable of bearing witness to the same faith, they should at least be
animated by mutual love and esteem.
7. This missionary
activity derives its reason from the will of God, "who wishes all men to be
saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one
mediator between God and men, Himself a man, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a
ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:45), "neither is there salvation in any other" (Acts
4:12). Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church's
preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church
which is His body. For Christ Himself "by stressing in express language the
necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time
confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a
door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through
Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to
enter into it, or to persevere in it."(17) Therefore though God in ways known to
Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith
without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6), yet a necessity lies
upon the Church (1 Cor. 9:16), and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the
Gospel. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and
By means of this
activity, the Mystical Body of Christ unceasingly gathers and directs its forces
toward its own growth (cf. Eph. 4:11-16). The members of the Church are impelled
to carry on such missionary activity by reason of the love with which they love
God and by which they desire to share with all men the spiritual goods of both
its life and the life to come.
Finally, by means
of this missionary activity, God is fully glorified, provided that men fully and
consciously accept His work of salvation, which He has accomplished in Christ.
In this way and by this means, the plan of God is fulfilled - that plan to which
Christ conformed with loving obedience for the glory of the Father who sent
Him,(18) that the whole human race might form one people of God and be built up
into one temple of the Holy Spirit which, being the expression of brotherly
harmony, corresponds with the inmost wishes of all men. And so at last, there
will be realized the plan of our Creator who formed man to His own image and
likeness, when all who share one human nature, regenerated in Christ through the
Holy Spirit and beholding the glory of God, will be able to say with one accord:
activity is closely bound up even with human nature itself and its aspirations.
For by manifesting Christ the Church reveals to men the real truth about their
condition and their whole calling, since Christ is the source and model of that
redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit,
to which they all aspire. Christ and the Church, which bears witness to Him by
preaching the Gospel, transcend every peculiarity of race or nation and
therefore cannot be considered foreign anywhere or to anybody.(20) Christ
Himself is the way and the truth, which the preaching of the Gospel opens to all
in proclaiming in the hearing of all these words of Christ: "Repent, and believe
the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). Now, since he who does not believe is already judged
(cf. John 3:18), the words of Christ are at one and the same time words of
judgment and of grace, of death and of life. For it is only by putting to death
what is old that we are able to approach the newness of life. This is true first
of all about persons, but it holds also for the various goods of this world
which bear the mark both of man's sin and of God's blessing: "For all have
sinned and have need of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). No one is freed from sin
by himself and by his own power, no one is raised above himself, no one is
completely rid of his sickness or his solitude or his servitude.(21) On the
contrary, all stand in need of Christ, their model, their mentor, their
liberator, their Savior, their source of life. The Gospel has truly been a
leaven of liberty and progress in human history, even in the temporal sphere,
and always proves itself a leaven of brotherhood, of unity and of peace. Not
without cause is Christ hailed by the faithful as "the expected of the nations,
and their Savior."(22)
9. And so the time
for missionary activity extends between the first coming of the Lord and the
second, in which latter the Church will be gathered from the four winds like a
harvest into the kingdom of God.(23) For the Gospel must be preached to all
nations before the Lord shall come (cf. Mark 13:10).
activity is nothing else and nothing less than an epiphany, or a manifesting of
God's decree, and its fulfillment in the world and in world history, in the
course of which God, by means of mission, manifestly works out the history of
salvation. By the preaching of the word and by the celebration of the sacraments,
the center and summit of which is the most holy Eucharist, He brings about the
presence of Christ, the author of salvation. But whatever truth and grace are to
be found among the nations, as a sort of secret presence of God, He frees from
all taint of evil and restores to Christ its maker, who overthrows the devil's
domain and wards off the manifold malice of vice. And so, whatever good is found
to be sown in the hearts and minds of men, or in the rites and cultures peculiar
to various peoples, not only is not lost, but is healed, uplifted, and perfected
for the glory of God, the shame of the demon, and the bliss of men.(24) Thus,
missionary activity tends toward eschatological fullness.(25) For by it the
people of God is increased to that measure and time which the Father has fixed
in His power(cf. Acts 1:7). To this people it was said in prophecy: "Enlarge the
space for your tent, and spread out your tent cloths unsparingly" (Is.
54:2).(26) By missionary activity, the mystical body grows to the mature measure
of the fullness of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:13); and the spiritual temple, where God
is adored in spirit and in truth (cf. John 4:23), grows and is built up upon the
foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme
corner stone (Eph. 2:20).
10. The Church,
sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and
nations, is aware that there still remains a gigantic missionary task for her to
accomplish. For the Gospel message has not yet, or hardly yet, been heard by two
million human beings (and their number is increasing daily), who are formed into
large and distinct groups by permanent cultural ties, by ancient religious
traditions, and by firm bonds of social necessity. Some of these men are
followers of one of the great religions, but others remain strangers to the very
knowledge of God, while still others expressly deny His existence, and sometimes
even attack it. The Church, in order to be able to offer all of them the mystery
of salvation and the life brought by God, must implant herself into these groups
for the same motive which led Christ to bind Himself, in virtue of His
Incarnation, to certain social and cultural conditions of those human beings
among whom He dwelt.
11. The Church
must be present in these groups through her children, who dwell among them or
who are sent to them. For all Christians, wherever they live, are bound to show
forth, by the example of their lives and by the witness of the word, that new
man put on at baptism and that power of the Holy Spirit by which they have been
strengthened at Conformation. Thus other men, observing their good works, can
glorify the Father (cf. Matt. ES:16) and can perceive more fully the real
meaning of human life and the universal bond of the community of mankind.
In order that they
may be able to bear more fruitful witness to Christ, let them be joined to those
men by esteem and love; let them acknowledge themselves to be members of the
group of men among whom they live; let them share in cultural and social life by
the various. undertakings and enterprises of human living; let them be familiar
with their national and religious traditions; let them gladly and reverently lay
bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their fellows. At the same
time, however, let them look to the: profound changes which are taking place
among nations, and let them exert themselves to keep modern man, intent as he is
on the science and technology of today's world from becoming a stranger to
things divine; rather, let them awaken in him a yearning for that truth
and:charity which God has revealed. Even as Christ Himself searched the hearts
of men, and led them to divine light, so also His disciples, profoundly
penetrated by the Spirit of Christ, should show the people among whom they live,
and should converse with them, that they themselves may learn by sincere and
patient dialogue what treasures a generous God has distributed among the nations
of the earth. But at the same time, let them try to furbish these treasures, set
them free, and bring them under the dominion of God their Savior.
12. The presence
of the Christian faithful in these human groups should be inspired by that
charity with which God has loved us, and with which He wills that we should love
one another (cf. 1 John 4:11). Christian charity truly extends to all, without
distinction of race, creed, or social condition: it looks for neither gain nor
gratitude. For as God loved us with an unselfish love, so also the faithful
should in their charity care for the human person himself, loving him with the
same affection with which God sought out man. Just as Christ, then, went about
all the towns and villages, curing every kind of disease and infirmity as a sign
that the kingdom of God had come (cf. Matt. 9:35ff; Acts 10:38), so also the
Church, through her children, is one with men of every condition, but especially
with the poor and the afflicted. For them, she gladly spends and is spent (cf. 2
Cor. 12:15), sharing in their joys and sorrows, knowing of their longings and
problems, suffering with them in death's anxieties. To those in quest of peace,
she wishes to answer in fraternal dialogue, bearing them the peace and the light
of the Gospel.
labor and collaborate with others in rightly regulating the affairs of social
and economic life. With special care, let them devote themselves to the
education of children and young people by means of different kinds of schools,
which should be considered not only as the most excellent means of forming and
developing Christian youth, but also as a valuable public service, especially in
the developing nations, working toward the uplifting of human dignity, and
toward better living conditions. Furthermore, let them take part in the
strivings of those peoples who, waging war on famine, ignorance, and disease,
are struggling to better their way of life and to secure peace in the world. In
this activity, the faithful should be eager to offer prudent aid to projects
sponsored by public and private organizations, by governments, by various
Christian communities, and even by non - Christian religions.
Church has no desire at all to intrude itself into the government of the earthly
city. It claims no other authority than that of ministering to men with the help
of God, in a spirit of charity and faithful service (cf. Matt. 20:26; 23:11).(1)
with men in their life and work, Christ's disciples hope to render to others
true witness of Christ, and to work for their salvation, even where they are not
able to announce Christ fully. For they are not seeking a mere material progress
and prosperity for men, but are promoting their dignity and brotherly union,
teaching those religious and moral truths which Christ illumined with His light;
and in this way, they are gradually opening up a fuller approach to God. Thus
they help men to attain to salvation by love for God and neighbor, and the
mystery of Christ begins to shine forth, in which there appears the new man,
created according to God (cf. Eph. 4:24), and in which the charity of God is
Preaching the Gospel and Gathering together the People of God
13. Wherever God
opens a door of speech for proclaiming the mystery of Christ (cf. Col. 4:3),
there is announced to all men (cf. Mark 16:15; 1 Cor. 9:15; Rom. 10:14) with
confidence and constancy (cf. Acts 4:13, 29, 31; 9:27, 28; 13:46; 14:3; 19:8;
26:26; 28:31; 1 Thess. 2:2; 2 Cor. 3:12; 7:4; Phil. 1:20; Eph. 3:12; 6:19, 20)
the living God, and He Whom He has sent for the salvation of all, Jesus Christ
(cf. 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 1 Cor. 1:18-21; Gal. 1:31; Acts 14:15-17, 17:22-31), in
order that non - Christians, when the Holy Spirit opens their heart (cf. Acts
16:14), may believe and be freely converted to the Lord, that they may cleave
sincerely to Him Who, being the "way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6),
fulfills all their spiritual expectations, and even infinitely surpasses them.
must be taken as an initial one, yet sufficient to make a man realize that he
has been snatched away from sin and led into the mystery of God's love, who
called him to enter into a personal relationship with Him in Christ. For, by the
workings of divine grace, the new convert sets out on a spiritual journey, by
means of which, already sharing through faith in the mystery of Christ's Death
and Resurrection, he passes from the old man to the new one, perfected in Christ
(cf. Col. 3:5-10; Eph. 4:20-24). This bringing with it a progressive change of
outlook and morals, must become evident with its social consequences, and must
be gradually developed during the time of the catechumenate. Since the Lord he
believes in is a sign of contradiction (cf. Luke 2:34; Matt. 10:34-39), the
convert often experiences an abrupt breaking off of human ties, but he also
tastes the joy which God gives without measure (cf. 1 Thess. 1:6).
strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing
people by worrisome wiles. By the same token, she also strongly insists on this
right, that no one be frightened away from the Faith by unjust vexations on the
part of others.(2)
In accord with the
Church's ancient custom, the convert's motives should be looked into, and if
14. Those who,
through the Church, have accepted from God a belief in Christ(3) are admitted to
the catechumenate by liturgical rites. The catechumenate is not a mere
expounding of doctrines and precepts, but a training period in the whole
Christian life, and an apprenticeship duty drawn out, during which disciples are
joined to Christ their Teacher. Therefore, catechumens should be properly
instructed in the mystery of salvation and in the practice of Gospel morality,
and by sacred rites which are to be held at successive intervals,(4) they should
be introduced into the life of faith, of liturgy, and of love, which is led by
the People of God.
Then, when the
sacraments of Christian initiation have freed them from the power of darkness
(cf. Col. 1:13),(5) having died with Christ been buried with Him and risen
together with Him (cf. Rom. 6:4-11; Col. 2:12-13; 1 Peter 3:21-22; Mark 16:16),
they receive the Spirit (cf. 1 Thess. 3:5-7; Acts 8:14-17) of adoption of sons
and celebrate the remembrance of the Lord's death and resurrection together with
the whole People of God.
It is to be
desired that the liturgy of the Lenten and Paschal seasons should be restored in
such a way as to dispose the hearts of the catechumens to celebrate the Easter
mystery at whose solemn ceremonies they are reborn to Christ through baptism.
But this Christian
initiation in the catechumenate should be taken care of not only by catechists
or priests, but by the entire community of the faithful, so that right from the
outset the catechumens may feel that they belong to the people of God. And since
the life of the Church is an apostolic one, the catechumens also should learn to
cooperate wholeheartedly, by the witness of their lives and by the profession of
their faith, in the spread of the Gospel and in the building up of the Church.
juridic status of catechumens should be clearly defined in the new code of Canon
law. For since they are joined to the Church, they are already of the household
of Christ,(7) and not seldom they are already leading a life of faith, hope, and
Forming a Christian Community
15. The Holy
Spirit, who calls all men to Christ by the seeds of the Lord and by the
preaching of the Gospel, stirs up in their: hearts a submission to the faith Who
in the womb of the baptismal font, He begets to a new life those who believe in
Christ, He gathers them into the one People of God which is "a chosen race, a
royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people" (1 Peter 2:9).(8)
Therefore, let the
missionaries, God's coworkers, ( cf. 1 Cor. 3:9), raise up congregations of the
faithful such that, walking worthy of the vocation to which they have been
called (cf. Eph. 4:1), they may exercise the priestly, prophetic, and royal
office which God has entrusted to them. In this way, the Christian community
will be a sign of God's presence in the world: for by reason of the eucharistic
sacrifice, this community is ceaselessly on the way with Christ to the
Father;(9) carefully nourished on the word of God(10) it bears witness to
Christ;(11) and finally, it walks in charity and is fervent with the apostolic
community should from the very start be so formed that it call provide nor its
necessities insofar as this is possible.
of the faithful, endowed with the riches of its own nation's culture, should be
deeply rooted in the people. Let families flourish which are imbued with the
spirit of the Gospel(13) and let them be assisted by good schools; let
associations and groups be organized by means of which the lay apostolate will
be able to permeate the whole of society with the spirit of the Gospel. Lastly,
let charity shine out between Catholics of different rites.(14)
spirit should be nurtured in the neophytes, who should take into account that
the brethren who believe in Christ are Christ's disciples, reborn in baptism,
sharers with the People of God in very many good things. Insofar as religious
conditions allow, ecumenical activity - should be furthered in such a way that,
excluding any appearance of indifference or confusion on the one hand, or of
unhealthy rivalry on the other, Catholics should cooperate in a brotherly spirit
with their separated brethren, among to the norms of the Decree on Ecumenism,
making before the nations a common profession of faith, insofar as their beliefs
are common, in God and in Jesus Christ, and cooperating in social and in
technical projects as well as in cultural and religious ones. Let them cooperate
especially for the sake of Christ, their common Lord: let His Name be the bond
that unites them! This cooperation should be undertaken not only among private
persons, but also, subject to approval by the local Ordinary, among churches or
ecclesial communities and their works.
faithful gathered together out of all nations into the Church "are not marked
off from the rest of men by their government, nor by their language, nor by
their political institutions,"(15) and so they should live for God and Christ in
a respectable way of their own national life. As good citizens, they should be
true and effective patriots, all together avoiding racial prejudice and
hypernationalism, and should foster a universal love for man.
To obtain all
these things, the most important and therefore worthy of special attention are
the Christian laity: namely, those who have been incorporated into Christ and
live in the world. For it is up to them, imbued with the spirit of Christ, to be
a leaven working on the temporal order from within, to dispose it always in
accordance with Christ.(16)
But it is not
enough that the Christian people be present and be organized in a given nation,
nor is it enough to carry out an apostolate by way of example. They are
organized for this purpose, they are present for this, to announce Christ to
their non - Christian fellow - citizens by word and example, and to aid them
toward the full reception of Christ.
Now, in order to
plant the Church and to make the Christian community grow, various ministries
are needed, which are raised up by divine calling from the midst of the faithful
congregation, and are to be carefully fostered and tended to by all. Among these
are the offices of priests, of deacons, and of catechists, and Catholic action.
Religious men and women likewise, by their prayers and by their active work,
play an indispensable role in rooting and strengthening the Kingdom of Christ in
souls, and in causing it to be spread.
16. Joyfully the
Church gives thanks for the priceless gift of the priestly calling which God has
granted to so many youths among those nations but recently converted to Christ.
For the Church drives deeper roots in any given sector of the human family when
the various faithful communities all have, from among their members, their own
ministers of salvation in the order of bishops, priests, and deacons, serving
their own brethren, so that the young churches gradually acquire a diocesan
structure with their own clergy.
What this council
has decreed concerning priestly vocations and formation, should be religiously
observed where the Church is first planted, and among the young churches. Of
great importance are the things which are said about closely joining spiritual
formation with the doctrinal and pastoral; about living a life patterned after
the Gospel without looking out for ones own comfort or that of one's family;
about cultivating a deep appreciation of the mystery of the Church. From all
this, they will be well taught to dedicate themselves wholly to the service of
the Body of Christ and to the work of the Gospel, to cleave to their own bishop
as his faithful co - workers, and to cooperate with their colleagues.(17)
To attain this
general end, the whole training of the students should be planned in the light
of the mystery of salvation as it is revealed in the Scriptures. This mystery of
Christ and of man's salvation they can discover and live in the liturgy.(18)
requirements of priestly training, including the pastoral and practical ones
prescribed by the council(19) should be combined with an attempt to make contact
with their own particular national way of thinking and acting. Therefore, let
the minds of the students be kept open and attuned to an acquaintance and an
appreciation of their own nation's culture. In their philosophical and
theological studies, let them consider the points of contact which mediate
between the traditions and religion of their homeland on the one hand and the
Christian religion on the other.(20) Likewise, priestly training should have an
eye to the pastoral needs of that region; and the students should learn the
history, aim, and method of the Church's missionary activity, and the special
social, economic, and cultural conditions of their own people. Let them be
educated in the ecumenical spirit, and duly prepared for fraternal dialogue with
non - Christians.(21) All this demands that studies for the priesthood be
undertaken, so far as possible, in association and living together with their
own people.(22) Finally, let care be taken that students are trained in ordinary
ecclesiastical and financial administration.
priests should be chosen, after a little pastoral practice, to pursue higher
studies in universities, even abroad and especially in Rome as well as in other
institutes of learning. In this way the young churches will have at hand men
from among the local clergy equipped with the learning and skill needed for
discharging more difficult ecclesiastical duties.
conferences deem it opportune, the order of the diaconate should be restored as
a permanent state of life according to the norms of the Constitution "De
Ecclesia."(23) For there are men who actually carry out the functions of the
deacon's office, either preaching the word of God as catechists, or presiding
over scattered Christian communities in the name of the pastor and the bishop,
or practicing charity in social or relief work. It is only right to strengthen
them by the imposition of hands which has come down from the Apostles, and to
bind them more closely to the altar, that they may carry out their ministry more
effectively because of the sacramental grace of the diaconate.
worthy of praise are the ranks of men and women catechists, well deserving of
missionary work to the nations. Imbued with the apostolic spirit, they labor
much to make an outstanding and altogether necessary contribution to the spread
of the Faith and of the Church.
In our time, when
there are so few clerics to preach the Gospel to such great numbers and to
exercise the pastoral ministry, the position of catechists is of great
importance. Therefore their training must be so accomplished and so adapted to
advances on the cultural level that as reliable coworkers of the priestly order,
they may perform their task well, though it be weighed down with new and greater
therefore be an increase in the number of schools, both on the diocesan and on
the regional levels, wherein future catechists may study Catholic doctrine,
especially in the fields of Scripture and the liturgy, as well as catechetical
method and pastoral practice; schools wherein they can develop in themselves a
Christian character, and wherein they can devote themselves tirelessly to
cultivating piety and sanctity of life. Moreover, conventions or courses should
be held in which at certain times catechists could he refreshed in the
disciplines and skills useful for their ministry and in which their spiritual
life could be nourished and strengthened. In addition, for those who devote
themselves entirely to this work, a decent standard of living should be
provided, and social security, by paying them a just wage.(24)
It would be
desirable for the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to
provide special funds for the due training and support of catechists. If it
seems necessary and fitting, let a special "Opus pro Catechists" be founded.
churches should gratefully acknowledge the noble work being done by auxiliary
catechists, whose help they will need. These preside over the prayers in their
communities and teach sacred doctrine. Something suitable should be done for
their doctrinal and spiritual training. Besides, it is to be hoped that, where
it seems opportune, catechists who are duly trained should receive a "missio
canonica" in a publicly celebrated liturgical ceremony, so that in the eyes of
the people they may serve the Faith with greater authority.
18. Right from the
planting stage of the Church, the religious life should be carefully fostered.
This not only offers precious and absolutely necessary assistance to missionary
activity, but by a more inward consecration made to God in the Church, it also
clearly manifests and signifies the inner nature of the Christian calling.(25)
institutes, working to plant the Church, and thoroughly Imbued with mystic
treasures with which the Church's religious tradition is adorned, should strive
to give expression to them and to hand them on, according to the nature and the
genius of each nation. Let them reflect attentively on how Christian religious
life might be able to assimilate the ascetic and contemplative traditions, whose
seeds were sometimes planted by God in ancient cultures already prior to the
preaching of the Gospel.
Various forms of
religious life are to be cultivated in the young churches, in order that they
may display various aspects of the mission of Christ and of the life of the
Church, and may devote themselves to various pastoral works, and prepare their
members to exercise them rightly. On the other hand, the bishops in their
conference should see to it that congregations pursuing the same apostolic aims
are not multiplied to the detriment of the religious life and of the apostolate.
Worthy of special
mention are the various projects for causing the contemplative life to take root.
There are those who in such an attempt have kept the essential element of a
monastic institution, and are bent on implanting the rich tradition of their
order; there are others again who are returning to the simpler forms of ancient
monasticism. But all are studiously looking for a genuine adaptation to local
conditions. Since the contemplative life belongs to the fullness of the Church's
presence, let it be put into effect everywhere.
19. The work of
planting the Church in a given human community reaches a certain goal when the
congregation of the faithful already rooted in social life and somewhat
conformed to the local culture, enjoys a certain firmness and stability. That is
to say, it is already equipped with its own supple (perhaps still insufficient)
of local priests, Religious, and lay men, and is endowed with these institutions
and ministries which are necessary for leading and expanding the life of the
people of God under the guidance of their own bishop.
In such new
churches, the life of the People of God must mature in all those fields of
Christian life which are to be reformed by the norms of this council. The
congregations of the faithful become daily more aware of their status as
communities of faith, liturgy, and love. The laity strive by their civic and
apostolic activity to set up a public order based on justice and love. The means
of social communication are put to wise use at the opportune time. By a truly
Christian life, families become seedbeds of the lay apostolate and of vocations
to the priesthood and the Religious life. Finally, the Faith is taught by an
adequate catechesis; it is celebrated in a liturgy in harmony with the genius of
the people, and by suitable canonical legislation, it is introduced into upright
institutions and local customs.
The bishops, in
turn, each one together with his own college of priests, being more and more
imbued with the mind of Christ and of the Church, feel and live along with the
universal Church. Let the young church keep up an intimate communion with the
whole Church, whose tradition they should link to their own culture, in order to
increase, by a certain mutual exchange of forces, the life of the Mystical
Body.(1) Hence, stress should be laid on those theological, psychological, and
human elements which can contribute to fostering this sense of communion with
the universal Church.
churches, very often located in the poorer portions of the globe, are mostly
suffering from a very serious lack of priests and of material support.
Therefore, they are badly in need of the continued missionary activity of the
whole Church to furnish them with those subsidies which serve for the growth of
the local Church, and above all for the maturity of Christian life. This mission
action should also furnish help to those churches, founded long since, which are
in a certain state of regression or weakness.
Yet these churches
should launch a common pastoral effort and suitable works to increase the number
of vocations to the diocesan clergy and to religious institutes, to discern them
more readily, and to train them more efficiently,(2) so that little by little
these churches may be able to provide for themselves and to bring aid to others.
20. Since the
particular church is bound to represent the universal Church as perfectly as
possible, let it realize that it has been sent to those also who are living in
the same territory with it, and who do not yet believe in Christ. By the life
witness of each one of the faithful and of the whole community, let the
particular church be a sign which points out Christ to others.
is need of the ministry of the word, so that the Gospel may reach all. The
bishop should be first and foremost a herald of the Faith, who leads new
disciples to Christ.(3) In order that he may properly fulfill this noble task,
let him thoroughly study both the conditions of his flock, and the private
opinions of his countrymen concerning God, taking careful note also of those
changes which urbanization, migrations, and religious indifferentism have
The local priests
in the young churches should zealously address themselves to the work of
spreading the Gospel, and join forces with the foreign missionaries who form
with them one college of priests, united under the authority of the bishop. They
should do this, not only with a view to the feeding the faithful flock, and to
the celebrating of divine worship, but also to the preaching of the Gospel to
those outside, let them show themselves ready, and when the occasion presents
itself, let them with a willing heart offer the bishop their services for
missionary work in distant and forsaken areas of their own diocese or of other
Let religious men
and women, and the laity too, show the same fervent zeal toward their
countrymen, especially toward the poor.
conferences should see to it that biblical, theological, spiritual and pastoral
refresher courses are held at stated intervals with this intention, that amid
all vicissitudes and changes the clergy may acquire a fuller knowledge of the
theological sciences and of pastoral methods.
For the rest,
those things which this council has laid down, particularly in the Decree on the
Life and Work of Priests, should be religiously observed.
In order that this
missionary work of the particular church may be performed, there is need of
qualified ministers, who are to be prepared in due time in a way suited to the
conditions of each church. Now since men are more and more banding together into
associations, it is very fitting that episcopal conferences should form a common
plan concerning the dialogue to be held with such associations. But if perchance
in certain regions, groups of men are to be found who are kept away from
embracing the Catholic Faith because they cannot adapt themselves to the
peculiar form which the church has taken in there, it is hoped that this
condition will be provided for in a special way,(4) until such time as all
Christians can gather together in one community. Let..individual bishops call to
their dioceses the missionaries whom the Holy See may have on hand for this
purpose; or let them receive such missionaries glad]y, and support their
In order that this
missionary zeal may flourish among those in their own homeland, it is very
fitting that the young churches should participate as soon as possible in the
universal missionary work of the Church, and send their own missionaries to
proclaim the Gospel all over the world, even though they themselves are
suffering from a shortage of clergy. For their communion with the universal
Church will be somehow brought to perfection when they themselves take an active
part in missionary zeal toward other nations.
21. The church has
not been really founded, and is not yet fully alive, nor is it a perfect sign of
Christ among men, unless there is a laity worthy of the name working along with
the hierarchy. For the Gospel cannot be deeply grounded in the abilities, life
and work of any people without the active presence of laymen. Therefore, even at
the very founding of a Church, great attention is to be paid to establishing a
mature, Christian laity.
For the lay
faithful fully belong at one and the same time both to the People of God and to
civil society: they belong to the nation in which they were born; they have
begun to share in its cultural treasures by means of their education; they are
joined to its life by manifold social ties; they are cooperating in its progress
by their efforts, each in his own profession; they feel its problems to be their
very own, and they are trying to solve them. They also belong to Christ, because
they were regenerated in the Church by faith and by baptism, so that they are
Christ's in newness of life and work (cf. 1 Cor. 15:23), in order that in
Christ, all things may be made subject to God, and finally God will be all in
all (cf. Cor. 15:28).
Their main duty,
whether they are men or women, is the witness which they are bound to bear to
Christ by their life and works in the home, in their social milieu, and in their
own professional circle. In them, there must appear the new man created
according to God in justice and true holiness (cf. Eph. 4:24). But they must
give expression to this newness of life in the social and cultural framework of
their own homeland, according to their own national traditions. They must be
acquainted with this culture; they must heal it and preserve it; they must
develop it in accordance with modern conditions, and finally perfect it in
Christ, so that the Faith of Christ and the life of the Church are no longer
foreign to the society in which they live, but begin to permeate and to
transform it. Let them be one with their fellow countrymen in sincere charity,
so that there appears in their way of life a new bond of unity and of universal
solidarity, which is drawn from the mystery of Christ. Let them also spread the
Faith of Christ among those with whom they live or have professional connections
- an obligation which is all the more urgent, because very many men can hear of
Christ and of the Gospel only by means of the laity who are their neighbors. In
fact, wherever possible, the laity should be prepared, in more immediate
cooperation with the hierarchy, to fulfill a special mission of proclaiming the
Gospel and communicating Christian teachings, so that they may add vigor to the
Let the clergy
highly esteem the arduous apostolate of the laity. Let them train the laity to
become conscious of the responsibility which they as members of Christ have for
all men; let them instruct them deeply in the mystery of Christ, introduce them
to practical methods, and be at their side in difficulties, according to the
tenor of the Constitution Lumen Gentium and the Decree Apostolicam Actuositatem.
While pastors and
laymen, then, retain each their own state of life and their own
responsibilities, let the whole young church render one firm and vital witness
to Christ, and become a shining beacon of the salvation which comes to us in
22. The seed which
is the word of God, watered by divine dew, sprouts from the good ground and
draws from thence its moisture, which it transforms and assimilates into itself,
and finally bears much fruit. In harmony with the economy of the Incarnation,
the young churches, rooted in Christ and built up on the foundation of the
Apostles, take to themselves in a wonderful exchange all the riches of the
nations which were given to Christ as an inheritance (cf Ps. 2:8). They borrow
from the customs and traditions of their people, from their wisdom and their
learning, from their arts and disciplines, all those things which can contribute
to the glory of their Creator, or enhance the grace of their Savior, or dispose
Christian life the way it should be.(5)
To achieve this
goal, it is necessary that in each major socio - cultural area, such theological
speculation should be encouraged, in the light of the universal Church's
tradition, as may submit to a new scrutiny the words and deeds which God has
revealed, and which have been set down in Sacred Scripture and explained by the
Fathers and by the magisterium.
Thus it will be
more clearly seen in what ways faith may seek for understanding, with due regard
for the philosophy and wisdom of these peoples; it will be seen in what ways
their customs, views on life, and social order, can be reconciled with the
manner of living taught by divine revelation. From here the way will be opened
to a more profound adaptation in the whole area of Christian life. By this
manner of acting, every appearance of syncretism and of false particularism will
be excluded, and Christian life will be accommodated to the genius and the
dispositions of each culture.(6) Particular traditions, together with the
peculiar patrimony of each family of nations, illumined by the light of the
Gospel, can then be taken up into Catholic unity. Finally, the young particular
churches, adorned with their own traditions, will have their own place in the
ecclesiastical communion, saving always the primacy of Peter's See, which
presides over the entire assembly of charity.(7)
And so, it is to
be hoped that episcopal conferences within the limits of each major socio -
cultural territory will so coordinate their efforts that they may be able to
pursue this proposal of adaptation with one mind and with a common plan.
23. Although every
disciple of Christ, as far in him lies, has the duty of spreading the Faith,(1)
Christ the Lord always calls whomever He will from among the number of His
disciples, to be with Him and to be sent by Him to preach to the nations (cf.
Mark 3:13). Therefore, by the Holy Spirit, who distributes the charismata as He
wills for the common good (1 Cor. 12:11), He inspires the missionary vocation in
the hearts of individuals, and at the same time He raises up in the Church
certain institutes(2) which take as their own special task the duty of preaching
the Gospel, a duty belonging to the whole Church.
They are assigned
with a special vocation who, being endowed with a suitable natural temperament,
and being fit as regards talent and other qualities, have been trained to
undertake mission work;(3) or be they autochthonous or be they foreigners:
priests, Religious, or laymen. Sent by legitimate authority, they go out in
faith and obedience to those who are far from Christ. They are set apart for the
work for which they have been taken up (cf. Acts 13:2), as ministers of the
Gospel, "that the offering up of the Gentiles may become acceptable, being
sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:16).
24. Yet man must
respond to God Who calls, and that in such a way, that without taking counsel
with flesh and blood (Gal. 1:16), he devotes himself wholly to the work of the
Gospel. This response, however can only be given when the Holy Spirit gives His
inspiration and His power. For he who is sent enters upon the life and mission
of Him Who "emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave" (Phil. 2:7).
Therefore, he must be ready to stay at his vocation for an entire lifetime, and
to renounce himself and all those whom he thus far considered as his own, and
instead to "make himself all things to all men" (1 Cor. 9:22).
Gospel to all nations, he confidently makes known the mystery of Christ, whose
ambassador he is, so that in him he dares to speak as he ought (cf. Eph. 6:19;
Acts 4:31), not being ashamed of the scandal of the Cross. Following in his
Master's footsteps, meek and humble of heart, he proves that His yoke is easy
and His burden light (Matt. 11:29ff.) By a truly evangelical life,(4) in much
patience, in long - suffering, in kindness, in unaffected love (cf. 2 Cor.
6:4ff.), he bears witness to his Lord, if need be to the shedding of his blood.
He will ask of God the power and strength, that he may know that there is an
overflowing of joy amid much testing of tribulation and deep poverty (2 Cor.
8:2). Let him be convinced that obedience is the hallmark of the servant of
Christ, who redeemed the human race by His obedience.
The heralds of the
Gospel lest they neglect the grace which is in them, should be renewed day by
day in the spirit of their mind (cf. 1 Tim. 4:14; Eph. 4:23; 2 Cor. 4:16). Their
Ordinaries and superiors should gather the missionaries together from time to
time, that they be strengthened in the hope of their calling and may be renewed
in the apostolic ministry, even in houses expressly set up for this purpose.
25. For such an
exalted task, the future missionary is to be prepared by a special spiritual and
moral training.(5) For he must have the spirit of initiative in beginning, as
well as that of constancy in carrying through what he has begun; he must be
persevering in difficulties, patient and strong of heart in bearing with
solitude, fatigue, and fruitless labor. He will encounter men with an open mind
and a wide heart; he will gladly take up the duties which are entrusted to him;
he will with a noble spirit adapt himself to the people's foreign way of doing
things and to changing circumstances; while in the spirit of harmony and mutual
charity, he will cooperate with his brethren and all who dedicate themselves to
the same task, so that together with the faithful, they will be one heart and
one soul (cf. Acts 2:42; 4:32)(7) in imitation of the apostolic community.
These habits of
mind should be earnestly exercised already in his time of training; they should
be cultivated, and should be uplifted and nourished by the spiritual life.
Imbued with a living faith and a hope that never fails, the missionary should be
a man of prayer. Let him have an ardent spirit of power and of love and of
prudence (cf. 2 Tim. 1:7). Let him learn to be self - sufficing in whatever
circumstances (Phil. 4:11); always bearing about in himself the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may work in those to whom he is sent (2 Cor. 4:10ff.),
out of zeal of souls, let him gladly spend all and be spent himself for souls
(cf. 2 Cor. 12:15ff.), so that "by the daily practice of his duty he may grow in
the love of God and neighbor."(8) Thus obedient to the will of the Father
together with Christ, he will continue His mission under the hierarchical
authority of the Church.
26. Those who are
sent to different nations in order to be good ministers of Christ, should he
nourished with the "words of faith and with good doctrine" (1 Tim. 4:6), which
they should draw principally from the Sacred Scriptures, studying the mystery of
Christ, whose heralds and witnesses they will be.
missionaries - priests, Brothers, Sisters, and lay folk - each according to
their own state, should be prepared and trained, lest they be found unequal to
the demands of their future work.(9) From the very beginning, their doctrinal
training should be so planned that it takes in both the universality of the
Church and the diversity of the world's nations. This holds for all of their
studies by which they are prepared for the exercise of the ministry, as also for
the other studies which it would be useful for them to learn, that they may have
a general knowledge of the peoples, cultures, and religions; not only a
knowledge that looks to the past, but one that considers the present time. For
anyone who is going to encounter another people should have a great esteem for
their patrimony and their language and their customs. It is very necessary for
the future missionary to devote himself to missiological studies: that is, to
know the teachings and norms of the Church concerning missionary activity, to
know along what roads the heralds of the Gospel have run in the course of the
centuries, and also what is the present condition of the missions, and what
methods are considered more effective at the present time.(8)
But even though
this entire training program is imbued with pastoral solicitude, a special and
organized apostolic training ought to be given, by means of both teaching and
Sisters, in great numbers, should be well instructed and prepared in the
catechetical art, that they may collaborate still better in the apostolate.
Even those who
take part in missionary activity only for a time have to be given a training
which is suited to their condition.
different kinds of formation should be completed in the lands to which they are
sent, so that the missionaries may have a more thorough knowledge of the
history, social structures, and customs of the people; that they may have an
insight into their moral order and their religious precepts, and into the secret
notions which, according to their sacred tradition, they have formed concerning
God, the world and man.(10) Let the missionaries learn the languages to such a
degree that they can use them in a fluent and polished manner, and so find more
easy access to the minds and the hearts of men. (11) Furthermore, they should be
properly introduced into special pastoral problems.
Some should be
more thoroughly prepared in missiological institutes or in other faculties or
universities, so that they may be able to discharge special duties more
effectively(12) and be a help, by their learning, to other missionaries in
carrying on the mission work, which especially in our time presents so many
difficulties and opportunities. It is moreover highly desirable that the
regional episcopal conferences should have available an abundance of such
experts, and that they should make fruitful use of their knowledge and
experience in the necessities of their office. Nor should there be wanting some
who are perfectly skilled in the use of practical instruments and the means of
social communication, the importance of which should be highly appreciated by
27. All these
things, though necessary for everyone who is sent to the nations, can scarcely
be attained to in reality by individual missionaries. Since even mission work
itself, as experience teaches, cannot be accomplished by lone individuals, a
common calling has gathered these individuals together into institutes, in which,
with united efforts, they are properly trained and might carry out this work in
the name of the Church and under the direction of the hierarchy. For many
centuries, these institutes have borne the burden of the day and the heat,
devoting themselves to missionary labor either entirely or in part. Often vast
territories were committed to them by the Holy See for evangelization, and there
they gathered together a new people for God, a local church clinging to their
own shepherds. With their zeal and experience, they will serve, by fraternal
cooperation either in the care of souls or in rendering special services for the
common good, those churches which were founded at the cost of their sweat and
even of their blood.
throughout the entire extent of some region, they will take certain tasks upon
themselves; e.g., the evangelization of groups of peoples who perhaps for
special reasons have not yet accepted the Gospel message, or who have thus far
If need be, let
them be on hand to help and train, out of their own experience, those who will
devote themselves to missionary activity for a time.
For these reasons,
and since there are still many nations to be led to Christ, the institutes
remain extremely necessary.
28. The Christian
faithful, having different gifts (cf. Rom. 12:6), according to each one's
opportunity, ability, charisms and ministry (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10) must all cooperate
in the Gospel. Hence all alike, those who sow and those who reap (cf. John
4:37), those who plant and those who irrigate, must be one (cf. 1 Cor. 3:8), so
that "in a free and orderly fashion cooperating toward the same end,"(1) they
may spend their forces harmoniously for the building up of the Church.
labors of the Gospel heralds and the help given by the rest of the Christian
faithful must be so directed and intertwined that "all may be done in order" (1
Cor. 14:40) in all fields of missionary activity and cooperation.
29. Since the
charge of proclaiming the Gospel in the whole world falls primarily on the body
of bishops,(2) the synod of bishops or that "stable Council of bishops for the
entire Church,"(3) among the affairs of general concern,(4) should give special
consideration to missionary activity, which is the greatest and holiest task of
For all missions
and for the whole of missionary activity there should be only one competent
office, namely that of the "Propagation of the Faith," which should direct and
coordinate, throughout the world, both missionary work itself and missionary
cooperation. However, the law of the Oriental Churches is to remain
Although the Holy
Spirit in diverse manners arouses the mission spirit in the Church of God, and
oft times anticipates the action of those whose task it is to rule the life of
the Church, yet for its part, this office should promote missionary vocations
and missionary spirituality, zeal and prayer for the missions, and should put
out authentic and adequate reports about them. Let it raise up missionaries and
distribute them according to the more urgent needs of various areas. Let it
arrange for an orderly plan of action, issue directives and principles adapted
to evangelization, and give the impetus. Let it take care of stimulating and
coordinating an effective collection of funds, which are to be distributed
according to reasons of necessity and usefulness, the extent of the territory in
question, the number of believers and non - believers, of undertakings and
institutes, of ministers and missionaries.
with the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, let it search out ways and
means for bringing about and directing fraternal cooperation as well as
harmonious living with missionary undertaking of other Christian communities,
that as far as possible the scandal of division may be removed.
office must be both an instrument of administration and an organ of dynamic
direction, which makes use of scientific methods and means suited to the
conditions of modern times, always taking into consideration present - day
research in matters of theology, of methodology and missionary pastoral
In the direction
of this office, an active role with a deliberative vote should be had by
selected representatives of all those who cooperate in missionary work: that is,
the bishops of the whole world (the episcopal conferences should be heard from
in this regard), as well as the moderators of pontifical institutes and works,
in ways and under conditions to be fixed by the Roman Pontiff. All these, being
called together at stated times, will exercise supreme control of all mission
work under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff. This office should have
available a permanent group of expert consultors, of proven knowledge and
experience, whose duty it will be, among other things to gather pertinent
information about local conditions in various regions, and about the thinking of
various groups of men) as well as about the means of evangelization to be used.
They will then propose scientifically based conclusions for mission work and
religious women, regional undertakings for the mission cause, and organizations
of laymen (especially international ones) should be suitably represented.
30. In order that
the proper goals and results may be obtained, all missionary workers should have
but "one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32) in the actual carrying out of mission
It is the bishop's
role, as the ruler and center of unity in the diocesan apostolate, to promote
missionary activity, to direct it and to coordinate it but always in such a way
that the zeal and spontaneity of those who share in the work may be preserved
and fostered. All missionaries, even exempt Religious, are subject to his power
in the various works which refer to the exercise of the sacred apostolate.(7) To
improve coordination, let the bishop set up, insofar as possible, a pastoral
council, in which clergy, Religious, and laity may have a part, through the
medium of selected delegates. Moreover let them take care that apostolic
activity be not limited to those only who have already been converted. A fair
proportion of personnel and funds should be assigned to the evangelization of
non - Christians.
conferences should take common counsel to deal with weightier questions and
urgent problems, without however neglecting local differences.(8) Lest the
already insufficient supply of men and means be further dissipated, or lest
projects be multiplied without necessity, it is recommended that they pool their
resources to found projects which will serve the good of all as for instance,
seminaries; technical schools and schools of higher learning; pastoral,
catechetical, and liturgical centers; as well as the means of social
when indicated, should also be initiated between several different episcopal
32. It would also
be good to coordinate the activities which are being carried on by
ecclesiastical institutes and associations. All these, of whatever kind, should
defer to the local Ordinary in all that concerns missionary activity itself.
Therefore, it will be very helpful to, draw up contracts to regulate relations
between local Ordinaries and the moderator of the institute.
When a territory
has been committed to a certain institute, both the ecclesiastical superior and
the institute will be concerned to direct everything to this end, that the new
Christian community may grow into a local church, which in due time will be
governed by its own pastor with his clergy.
commission of a certain territory expires, a new state of affairs begins. Then
the episcopal conference and the institutes in joint deliberation should lay
down norms governing the relations between local Ordinaries and the institutes.(9)
It will be the role of Holy See to outline the general principles according to
which regional and even particular contracts are to be drawn up.
institutes will be prepared to continue the work which they have begun,
cooperating in the ordinary ministry of the care of souls, yet when the local
clergy grows numerous, it will be provided that the institute, insofar as this
is in agreement with its purpose, should remain faithful to the diocese,
generously taking over special works or some area in it.
33. The institutes
engaged in missionary activity in the same territory should find ways and means
of coordinating their work. Therefore, it will be very useful to have
conferences of Religious men and unions of Religious women, in which institutes
of the same country or region should take part. These conferences should ask
what things can be done by combined efforts, and they should be in close touch
with the episcopal conferences.
All these things,
with equal reason, should be extended to include the cooperation of missionary
institutes in the home lands, so that questions and joint projects can be
settled with less expense, as for instance the formation of future missionaries,
as well as courses for missionaries, relations with public authorities and with
international or supranational organizations.
34. Since the
right and methodical exercise of missionary activity requires that those who
labor for the Gospel should be scientifically prepared for their task, and
especially for dialogue with non - Christian religions and cultures, and also
that they should be effectively assisted in the carrying out of this task, it is
desired that, for the sake of the missions, there should be fraternal and
generous collaboration on the part of scientific institutes which specialize in
missiology and in other arts and disciplines useful for the missions, such as
ethnology and linguistics, the history and science of religions, sociology,
pastoral skills and the like.
35. Since the
whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of
the People of God, this sacred synod invites all to a deep interior renewal; so
that, having a vivid awareness of their own responsibility for spreading the
Gospel, they may do their share in missionary work among the nations.
36. As members of
the living Christ, incorporated into Him and made like unto Him through baptism
and through confirmation and the Eucharist, all the faithful are duty - bound to
cooperate in the expansion and spreading out of His Body, to bring it to
fullness as soon as may be (Eph. 4:13).
sons of the Church should have a lively awareness of their responsibility to the
world; they should foster in themselves a truly catholic spirit; they should
spend their forces in the work of evangelization. And yet, let everyone know
that their first and most important obligation for the spread of the Faith is
this: to lead a profoundly Christian life. For their fervor in the service of
God and their charity toward others will cause a new spiritual wind to blow for
the whole Church, which will then appear as a sign lifted up among the nations
(cf. Is. 11:12), "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14) and "the salt of the
earth" (Matt. 5:13). This testimony of a good life will more easily have its
effect if it is given in unison with other Christian communities, according to
the norms of the Decree on Ecumenism, 12.(1) From this renewed spirit, prayer
and works of penance will be spontaneously offered to God that He may fructify
the missionaries' work with His grace; and then there will be missionary
vocations, and the material subsidies which the missions need will be
But in order that
each and every one of the Christian faithful may he fully acquainted with the
present condition of the Church in the world, and may hear the voice of the
multitudes who cry "Help us!" (cf. Acts 16:9), modern means of social
communication should be used to furnish such mission information that the
faithful may feel this mission work to be their very own, and may open their
hearts to such vast and profound human needs, and may come to their assistance.
It is also
necessary to coordinate the information, and to cooperate with national and
37. But since the
People of God lives in communities, especially in dioceses and parishes, and
becomes somehow visible in them, it is also up to these to witness Christ before
The grace of
renewal cannot grow in communities unless each of these extends the range of its
charity to the ends of the earth, and devotes the same care to those afar off as
it does to those who are its own members.
Thus the whole
community prays, works together, and exercises its activity among the nations
through those of its sons whom God has chosen for this most excellent task.
It will be very
useful, provided the universal scope of mission work is not thereby neglected,
to keep in contact with missionaries who are from one's own community, or with
some parish or diocese in the missions, so that the communion between the
communities may be made visible, and serve for their mutual edification.
38. All bishops,
as members of the body of bishops succeeding to the College of Apostles, are
consecrated not just for some one diocese, but or the salvation of the entire
world. The mandate of Christ to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15)
primarily and immediately concerns them, with Peter and under Peter. Whence
there arises that communion and cooperation of churches which is so necessary
today for carrying on the work of evangelization. In virtue of this communion,
the individual churches bear the burden of care for them all, and make their
necessities known to one another, and exchange mutual communications regarding
their affairs, since the extension of the Body of Christ is the duty of the
whole College of Bishops.(2)
In his own
diocese, with which he constitutes one unit the bishop, stimulating, promoting
and directing the work for the missions, makes the mission spirit and zeal of
the People of God present and as it were visible, so that the whole diocese
It will be the
bishop's task to raise up from among his own people, especially the sick and
those oppressed by hardship, some souls to offer prayers and penance to God with
a wide - open heart for the evangelization of the world. The bishop will also
gladly encourage youths and clerics who have vocations to mission institutes,
accepting it with a grateful spirit if God should call some of them to be
employed in the missionary activity of the Church. The bishop will exhort and
help the diocesan congregations to play a role of their own in the missions; he
will promote the works of mission institutes among his own faithful, but most
especially the papal mission works. For it is only right to give these works
pride of place, since they are the means of imbuing Catholics from their very
infancy with a real universal and missionary outlook; and they are also the
means of making an effective collection of funds to subsidize all missions, each
according to its needs.(3)
But since the need
for workers in the vineyard of the Lord is growing from day to day, and diocesan
priests have expressed the wish to play an ever greater part in the
evangelization of the world, this sacred synod desires that the bishops
considering the very serious dearth of priests which is hindering the
evangelization of many areas, should send some of their better priests, who
offer themselves for mission work and have received a suitable preparation, to
those dioceses which are lacking in clergy, where at least for a time they will
exercise their missionary ministry in a spirit of service.(4)
But in order that
the missionary activity of the bishops may be exercised more effectively for the
good of the whole Church, it would be expedient for the episcopal conferences to
take charge of those affairs which concern the orderly cooperation of their own
In their own
conference, the bishops should deliberate about dedicating to the evangelization
of the nations some priests from among the diocesan clergy; they should decide
what definite offering each diocese should be obliged to set aside annually for
the work of the missions, in proportion to its own budget;(5) they should
consider how to direct and control the ways and means by which the missions
receive direct help; they should deal with assisting and if need be, founding,
missionary institutes and seminaries for diocesan mission clergy, and the
promoting of closer relations between such institutes and the dioceses.
It also pertains
to the episcopal conferences to found and promote works for the brotherly
reception and due pastoral care of those who immigrate from mission lands for
the sake of studying or finding work. For through them, far - away peoples are
sometimes made near; and an excellent opportunity is offered to communities
which have long been Christian to converse with nations which have not yet heard
the Gospel, and to show them in their own dutiful love and aid, the genuine face
personally represent Christ, and are collaborators of the order of bishops in
that threefold sacred task which by its very nature belongs to the mission of
the Church.(7) Therefore, they should fully understand that their life is also
consecrated to the service of the missions. Now because by means of their own
ministry - which consists principally in the Eucharist which perfects the Church
- they are in communion with Christ the Head and are leading others to this
communion, they cannot help but feel how much is yet wanting to the fullness of
that Body, and how much therefore must be done that it may grow from day to day.
They shall therefore plan their pastoral care in such a way that it will serve
to spread the Gospel among non - Christians.
In their pastoral
activities, priests should stir up and preserve amid the faithful a zeal for the
evangelization of the world, by instructing them in sermons and in Christian
doctrine courses about the Church's task of announcing Christ to all nations; by
enlightening Christian families about the necessity and the honor of fostering
missionary vocations among their own sons and daughters, by promoting mission
fervor in young people from the schools and Catholic associations so that among
them there may arise future heralds of the Gospel. Let priests teach the
faithful to pray for the missions, and let them not be ashamed to ask alms of
them for this purpose, becoming like beggars for Christ and for the salvation of
seminaries and universities will teach young people the true state of the world
and of the Church, so that the necessity of a more intense evangelization of non
- Christians will become clear to them and will nurture their zeal. In teaching
the dogmatic, biblical, moral, and historical branches, they should focus
attention on the missionary elements therein contained, so that in this way a
missionary, awareness may be formed in future priests.
institutes of the contemplative and of the active life have so far played, and
still do play, the main role in the evangelization of the world. This sacred
synod gladly acknowledges their merits and thanks God for all that they have
expended for the glory of God and the service of souls while exhorting them to
go on untiringly in the work which they have begun, since they know that the
virtue of charity, which by reason of their vocation they are bound to practice
with greater perfection, obliges and impels them to a truly catholic spirit and
Institutes of the
contemplative life, by their prayers, sufferings, and works of penance have a
very great importance in the conversion of souls, because it is God who sends
workers into His harvest when He is asked to do so (cf. Matt. 9:38) God who
opens the minds of non - Christians to hear the Gospel (cf. Acts 16:14), and God
who fructifies the word of salvation in their hearts (cf. 1 C,or. 3:7). In fact,
these institutes are asked to found houses in mission areas, as not a few of
them have already done, so that there, living out their lives in a way
accommodated to the truly religious traditions of the people, they can bear
excellent witness among non - Christians to the majesty and love of God, as well
as to our union in Christ.
Institutes of the
active life, whether they pursue a strictly mission ideal or not, should ask
themselves sincerely in the presence of God, whether they would not be able to
extend their activity for the expansion of the Kingdom of God among the nations;
whether they could possibly leave certain ministries to others so that they
themselves could expend their forces for the missions, whether they could
possibly undertake activity in the missions, adapting their constitutions if
necessary, but according to the spirit of their founder; whether their members
are involved as totally as possible in the mission effort; and whether their
type of life is a witness to the Gospel accommodated to the character and
condition of the people.
Now since, under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, secular institutes are daily increasing in
the Church, their activity, under the authority of the bishop, could be fruitful
in the missions in many ways as a sign of complete dedication to the
evangelization of the world.
cooperate in the Church's work of evangelization; as witnesses and at the same
time as living instruments, they share in her saving mission;(10) especially if
they have been called by God and have been accepted by the bishop for this work.
In those lands
which are already Christian, laymen cooperate in the work of evangelization by
nurturing in themselves and in others a knowledge and love of the missions; by
stimulating vocations in their own family, in Catholic associations, and in the
schools; by offering subsidies of every kind, that they may offer to others that
gift of Faith which they have received gratis.
But in mission
lands, let laymen, whether foreigners or autochthonous, teach in schools,
administer temporal goods cooperate in parish and diocesan activities, and
organize and promote various forms of the lay apostolate, in order that the
faithful of the young churches may be able to take part as soon as possible in
the life of the Church.(11)
Lastly, let laymen
gladly offer socio - economic cooperation to peoples on the way of development.
This cooperation is all the more to be praised, the more it concerns itself with
founding institutes which touch on the basic structures of social life, or which
are oriented to the training of those who bear the responsibility for the
Worthy of special
praise are those laymen who, in universities or in scientific institutes,
promote by their historical and scientific religious research the knowledge of
peoples and of religions; thus helping the heralds of the Gospel, and preparing
for the dialogue with non - Chistians.
cooperate in a brotherly spirit with other Christians, with non - Christians,
and with members of international organizations, aways having before their eyes
the fact that "the building up of the earthly city should have its foundation in
the Lord, and should be directed towards Him."(12)
To be equal to all
these tasks, laymen need the necessary technical and spiritual preparation,
which should be given in institutes destined for this; so that their lives may
be a witness for Christ among non - Christians, according to the words of the
Apostle: "Do not be a stumbling - block to Jews and Greeks and to the Church of
God, even as I myself in all things please all men, not seeking what is
profitable to myself but to the many, that they may be saved." (1 Cor.
42. The council
Fathers together with the Roman Pontiff, feeling deeply their duty to spread
everywhere the Kingdom of God, lovingly salute all heralds of the Gospel, and
especially those who suffer persecution for the name of Christ, being made
partakers of their sufferings.(13)
They are afire
with that same love with which Christ burned toward men. But aware that it is
God who brings it about that His Kingdom should come on earth, they pour forth
their prayers together with all the Christian faithful, that through the
intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, the nations may soon be
led to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4) and the glory of God which shines
on the face of Jesus Christ may shine upon all men through the Holy Spirit (2
1. Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen
2. St. Augustine,
"Exposition on Psalm 44," 23 (PL 36, 508; CChr 38, 510).
1. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
2. Cf. St.
Irenaeus, "Against Heretics," III, 18, 1: "The word existing in the
presence of God, through whom all things were made, and who always is present to
the human race..." (PG 7 932)- id. IV, 6, 7: "From the beginning even the Son,
assisting at His own creation, reveals the Father to all to whom He wills, and
when He wills, and insofar as the Father wills it." (ib. 990); cf. IV, 20, 6 and
7 (ib. 1037); Demonstration No. 34 (Eastern Fathers, XII, 773, "Sources
Chretiennes," 62, Paris, 1958, p. 87)Clement of Alexandria, "Protrept." 112, 1 (GCS
Clement I, 79), "Strom.' VI, 6, 44, 1 (GCS Clement II, 453); 13, 106, 3 and 4
(ib. 485). For the doctrine itself, cf. Pius XII, radio messages, Dec. 31, 1952;
Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 16.
3. Cf. Hebrews
1:2; John 1:3 and 10, 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16.
4. Cf. St.
Athanasius, "Letter to Epictetus," 7 (PG 26, 1060); St. Cyril of
Jerusalem, "Catech." 4, 9 (PG 33, 465); Marius Victorinus, "Against Arius," 3, 3
(PL 8, 1101); St. Basil, Letter 26], 2 (PG 32, 969); St. Gregory Nazianzen,
Letter 101 (PG 37, 181); St. Gregory of Nyssa, "Antirrheticus, Against
Apollin.," 17 (PG 45, 1156); St. Ambrose Letter 48, 5 (PL 16, 1153); St.
Augustine, "On John's Gospel" tract XXIII, 6 (PL 35, 1585; CChr 36, 236); above
all in this way it is evident that the Holy Spirit has not redeemed us, since He
has not become flesh: "On the Agony of Christ," 22, 24 (PL 40, 302); St. Cyril
of Alexandria, "Against Nestorian," I, 1 (PG 76, 20); St. Fulgentius, Letter 17,
3, 5 (PL 65, 454); "Ad Trasimundum," III, 21 (PL 65, 284: on sorrow and fear).
5. It is the
Spirit who has spoken through the Prophets; Creed of Constantinople
(Denzinger-Shoenmetzer, 150); St. Leo the Great, Sermon 76 (PL 54, 405-406).
"When on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit filled the disciples of the Lord,
it was not so much the beginning of a gift as it was the completion of one
already bountifully possessed: because the patriarchs, the prophets, the priests
and all the holy men who preceded them were already quickened by the life of the
same Spirit. . . although they did not possess his gifts to the same degree."
Also Sermon 77, 1, (PL 54 412)- Leo XIII, encyclical, "Divinum Illud"
(AAS 1897, 650-651). Also St. John Chrysostom, where he insists on the newness
of the Holy Spirit's mission on Pentecost; "On Eph." c. 4, Homily 10, 1 (PG 62,
6. The Holy
Fathers often speak of Babel and Pentecost; Origen, "On Genesis," c. 1 (PG 12,
112); St. Gregory Naz., Oration 41, 16 (PG 36, 449); St. John Chrysostom, Homily
2 on Pentecost, 2 (PG 50, 467); "On the Acts of the Apostles" (PG, 44); St.
Augustine, "Narration on Psalm 54," 11 (PL 36, 636; CChr 39, 664 ff.); Sermon
271 (PL 38, 1245); St. Cyril of Alexandria, Glaphyra on Genesis II (PG 69, 79);
St. Gregory the Great, "Homily on the Gospels," Book 2, Homily 30, 4 (PL 76,
1222); St. Bede, "On Hexaeum," Book 3 (PL 91, 125). See above all the images in
St. Mark's basilica in Venice.
The Church speaks
all languages, and thus gathers all in the catholicity of the faith: St.
Augustine, Sermons 267, 268, 269 (PL 38, 1225,1237)- Sermon 175, 3 (PL 38 946);
St. John Chrysostom, "On the First Epistle to the Corinthians," Homily 35 (PG
61, 296); St. Cyril of Alexandria, fragment on the Acts (PG 74, 758); St.
Fulgentius, Sermon 8, 2-3 (PL 65, 743-744).
Pentecost as the consecration of the Apostles to their mission, cf. J.A. Cramer,
"Catena on the Acts of the Apostles," Oxford, 1838, p. 24 ff.
7. Cf. Luke
3:22; 4:1; Acts 10:38.
8. Cf. John c.
14-17; Paul VI, allocution during the council, Sept. 14, 1964 (AAS 1964, 807).
9. Cf. Dogmatic constitution "Lumen
10. St. Augustine, Sermo 267, 4 (PL 38, 1231): "The Holy
Spirit does in the whole Church what the soul does in all the members of one
body." Cf. Const. Dogm.
Lumen Gentium, 7
(together with note 8).
11. Cf. Acts
10:44-47; 11:15; 15:8.
12. Cf. Acts 4:8;
5:32; 8:26, 29, 39; 9:31; 10; 11:24-28; 13:2, 4, 9; 16:6-7; 20:22-23; 21:11;
"Apologeticum," 50, 13 (PL 1, 534; CChr. 1, 171.
14. Already St.
Thomas Aquinas speaks of the apostolic duty of "planting" the Church; cf.
"Sent." Book I, Dist. 16, q. 1, 2 ad 2 and ad 4 a. 3 sol., "Summa Theol."
1.q.43, a. 7 ad 6, I, II q. 106 A. 4 AD 4. Cf. Benedict XV, "Maximum Illud" Nov.
30, 1919 (AAS 1919, 445 and 453); Pius XI, "Rerum Ecclesiae," Feb. 28, 1926 (AAS
1926, 74); Pius XII, April 30, 1939, to the directors of the Pontifical
Missionary Societies; id., June 24, 1944, to the directors of the Pontifical
Missionary Societies (AAS 1944, 210, again in AAS 1950, 727, and 1951 508), id.,
June 29, 1948, to the native clergy (AAS 1948, 374); id., "Evangelii Praecones,"
June 2, 1951 (AAS 1951, 507); id., "Fidei Donum," Jan. 15, 1957 (AAS 1957, 236);
John XXIII, "Princeps Pastorum," Nov. 28, 1959 (AAS, 1959, 835), Paul VI, homily
Oct. 18, 1964 (AAS 1964, 911).
Both the supreme
pontiffs and the Fathers and scholastics have spoken of the expansion of the
Church: St. Thomas Aquinas, commentary on Matt. 16:28; Leo XIII, encyclical
"Sancta Dei Civitas" (AAS, 1880, 241); Benedict XV, encyclical, "Maximum Illud"
(AAS 1919, 442); Pius XI, encyclical, "Rerum Ecclesiae" (AAS, 1926, 65).
15. In this notion
of missionary activity, as is evident, according to the circumstances, even
those parts of Latin America are included in which there is neither a hierarchy
proper to the region, nor maturity of Christian life, nor sufficient preaching
of the Gospel. Whether or not such territory de facto is recognized as
missionary by the Holy See does not depend on this council. Therefore, regarding
the connection between the notion of missionary activity and a certain
territory, it is wise to say that this activity "in the majority of cases" is
exercised in certain territories recognized by the Holy See.
16. Decree "Unitates
17. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
18. Cf. John 7:18;
8:30 and 44; 8:50; 17:1.
19. On this
synthetic idea, see the teaching of St. Irenaeus de Recaptiulatione. Cf. also
Hippolytus, De Antichristo, 3: "Wishing all, and desiring to save all, wishing
all the excellence of God's children and calling all the saints in one perfect
man. . . " (PG 10, 732; GCS Hippolyt I 2 p. 6); Benedictiones Iacob, 7 (T.U.,
38-1 p. 18, 1 in 4 ss.), Origen, In Ioann. Tom. I, n. 16: "Then there will be
one action of knowing God on the part of all those who have attained to God,
under the leadership of the Word who is with God, that thus all sons may be
correctly instructed in the knowledge of the Father, as now only the Son knows
the Father." (PG 14, 49, GCS Orig. IV 20)- St. Augustine, De Sermone Domini in
monte, I 41; "Let us love what can lead us to that kingdom where no one says,
'My Father,' but all say to the one God: 'Our Father'." (PL 34, 1250), St. Cyril
Alex. In Joann. I: "For we are all in Christ, and the common person of humanity
comes back to life in him. That is why he is also called the New Adam.... For he
dwelt among us, who by nature is the Son of God; and therefore in his Spirit we
cry out: Abba, Father But the Word dwells in all, in one temple, namely that
which he assumed for us and from us, that having us, ail in himself, he might
say, as Paul says, reconcile all in one body to the Father" (PG 73, 161-164).
20. Benedict XV,
Maximum Illud (AAS 1919, 445): "For as the Church of God is Catholic and
is foreign to no people or nation..." Cf. John XXIII, Mater et Magistra: "By
divine right the Church belongs to all nations . . . since she has as it were
transfused her energy into the veins of a people, she neither is nor considers
herself an institution imposed on that people from without.... And hence
whatever seems to her good and noble that they confirm and perfect" (namely
those reborn in Christ) (AAS 1961, 444).
21. Cf. Iraeneus,
"Against Heretics" III, 15, n. 3 (PG 7, 919): "They were preachers of truth and
apostles of liberty."
22. Antiphon O for
23. Cf. Matt.
24:31, Didache, 10, 5 (Funk I, p. 32).
24. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
Gentium," 17. St. Augustine 7, "City of
God," 1917 (PL 41, 646). Instr. S.C.P.F. (Collectanea I, n. 35, p. 42).
25. According to
Origen, the Gospel must be preached before the end of this world: Homily on Luke
XXI (GCS, Origen IX, 136, 21 ff.); "Comm. Ser. On Matthew" 39 (XI 75, 25 ff; 76,
4 ff.); Homily on Jeremiah III, 2 (VIII 308, 29 ff.), St. Thomas "Summa Theol."
Ia, IIae q. 106, a.4, ad 4.
26. Hilary Pict.
"On the Psalms" 14 (PL 9, 301); Eusebius of Caesarea, "On Isaiah" 54, 2-3 (PG
24, 462-463), Cyril of Alexandria, "On Isaiah V," chapter 54 1-3 (PG 70, 1193).
1. Cf. Allocution
of Paul VI of Nov. 21, 1964 in council (AAS 1964, 1013).
2. Cf. Declaration on "Religious Liberty" 2, 4, 10;
Church in the Modern World."
3. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
4. Cf. Constitution, "On
Sacred Liturgy," 64-65.
5. Concerning this
liberation from demons and the powers of darkness, in the Gospel, cf. Matt.
12:28; John 8:44; 12:31 (Cf. I John 3:8; Eph. 2:1-2). In Liturgy of Baptism cf.
6. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
7. Cf. St.
Augustine, "Tract on John" 11, 4 (PL 35, 1476).
8. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
9. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
Gentium," 10, 11, 34.
10 Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "On
Divine Revelation," 21.
11 Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
Gentium," 12, 35.
12. Cf. Ib., 23,
13. Cf. Ib., 11,
14 Cf. decree, "On
Oriental Churches" 30.
15 Epistle to Diognetus, 5 (PG 2, 1173); Cf. Dogmatic
16. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
Gentium," 32; Decree "On
17. Cf. Decree "On
Priestly Training," 4, 8, 9.
18. Cf. Constitution, "On
Sacred Liturgy," 17.
19. Cf. Decree, "On
Priestly Training," 1.
20. Cf. John XXIII, "Princeps
Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 843-844).
21 Cf Decree, "On
22 Cf John XXIII, "Princeps
Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 842).
23. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
24. Cf. John XXIII"
(AAS 1959, 855).
25. The reference
is to expressions of this kind: "catechistes a plein temps,n "full time
26. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
Gentium," 31, 44.
1. Cf. John XXIII, "Princeps
Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 838).
2. Cf. Decree, "On
Priestly Ministry and Life," 11; Decree, "On
Priestly Training," 2.
3. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
4. Cf. Decree, "On
Priestly Ministry and Life," 10, where in
order to render particular pastoral labors easier for various social groups,
provision is made for the establishment of personal prelacies, insofar as needs
of the apostolate demand it.
5. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
6. Cf. Allocution
of Paul VI at the canonization of the Uganda Martyrs (AAS 1964, 908).
7. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
1. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
refer to orders, congregations, institutions and associations which work in the
3. Cf. Pius XI, "Rerum
Ecclesiae" (AAS 1926, 69-7); Pius XII, "Saeculo
Exeunte" (AAS 1940, 256); "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 506).
4 Cf Benedict XV,
"Maximum Illud" (AAS 1919, 449-450).
5 Cf Benedict XV, "Maximum Illud" (AAS 1919,
448-449); Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones," (AAS 1951, 507). In the
formation of priests to be missionaries consideration is to be given to those
things established by statute in the decree "On
Priestly Training" of the Second Vatican
6. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
7. Cf. Benedict XV, "Maximum Illud" (AAS 1919 440);
Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 507).
8. Benedict XV, "Maximum Illud" (AAS 1919, 448);
Decree S.C.P.F., May 20, 1923 (AAS 1923, 369-370); Pius XII "Saeculo
Exeunte" (AAS 1940, 256), "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 507)- John XXIII, "Princeps
Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 843-844).
9. Decree "On
Priestly Training," 19-21; Apostolic
constitution "Sedes Sapientiae," with general statutes.
10. Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 523-524).
11. Benedict XV, "Maximum
Illud" (AAS 1919, 448); Pius XII, "Evangelii Praecones" (AAS 1951, 507).
12. Cf. Pius XII,
"Fidei Donum" (AAS 1957, 234).
13. Cf. "On
Priestly Ministry and Life," 10, refers to
dioceses and personal prelatures and the like.
1. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
2. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
3. Cf. Motu proprio, "Apostolica
Sollicitudo," Sept. 15, 1965.
4. Cf. Paul VI,
allocution Nov. 21, 1964, in council (AAS 1964).
5. Cf. Benedict XV,
"Maximum Illud" (AAS 1019, 39-40).
6. If these
missions for special reasons are made subject to other ecclesiastical
jurisdictions for a time, it is fitting that this ecclesiastic jurisdiction
establish relations with the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the
Faith so that in ordering and directing all these missions, a regular and
uniform pattern can be realized.
7. Cf. Decree, "Pastoral
Duties of Bishops in the Church," 35, 4.
8. Cf. Decree "Pastoral
Duties of Bishops in the Church," 36-38.
9. Cf. Decree "Pastoral
Duties of Bishops in the Church" 35, 5-6.
1. Cf. Decree, "On
2. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
3. Cf. Benedict XV, "Maximum Illud" (AAS 1919,
453-454); Pius XI, "Rerum
Ecclesiae" (AAS 1926, 71-73); Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 525-526); Id. "Fidei
Donum" (AAS 1957, 241.)
4. Cf. Pius XII, "Fidei
Donum" (AAS 1957, 245-246).
5. Decree "Pastoral
Duties of Bishops," 6.
6. Cf . Pius XII,
"Fidei Donum" (AAS 1957, 245) .
7. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
8. Cf. Pius XI, "Rerum
Ecclesiae" (AAS 1926, 72).
9. Cf. Dogmatic constitution "Lumen
10. Cf. Ibid. 33,
11. Cf. Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 510, 514)John XXIII,
Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 851-852).
12. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen
13. Cf. Pius XII, "Evangelii
Praecones" (AAS 1951, 527)John XXIII, "Princeps
Pastorum" ( AAS 1959, 864 ) .