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.
Therefore, this 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)
This decree, 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 11:52).
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 different ways.(12)
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.
These 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 2:43).
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.
Moreover, the 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
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 necessity.
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: "Our Father."(19)
8. Missionary 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).
Missionary 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).
MISSION WORK ITSELF
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.
ARTICLE 1: Christian Witness
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
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.
Let Christians 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.
However, the 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)
Closely united 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 revealed.
ARTICLE 2: Preaching the Gospel and Gathering together the People of
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
This conversion 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
The Church 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 necessary, purified.
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.
Finally, the 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 charity.
ARTICLE 3: 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
The Christian community should from the very start be so formed that it call
provide nor its necessities insofar as this is possible.
This congregation 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)
The ecumenical 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.
The Christian 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
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
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)
These common 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.
Moreover, suitable 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.
Where episcopal 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
17. Likewise 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 burdens.
There should 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
Moreover, the 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
Religious 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
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.
But these 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.
Furthermore, there 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 dioceses.
Let religious men and women, and the laity too, show the same fervent zeal
toward their countrymen, especially toward the poor.
Episcopal 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 undertakings effectively.
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 Christ.
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
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
Announcing the 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
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.
Therefore, all 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 practical exercises.(9)
Brothers and Sisters, in great numbers, should be well instructed and
prepared in the catechetical art, that they may collaborate still better in the
Even those who take part in missionary activity only for a time have to be
given a training which is suited to their condition.
All these 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.
Sometimes, 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 resisted it.(13)
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.
PLANNING MISSIONARY ACTIVITY
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
Wherefore, the 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 the Church.(5)
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
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.
In coordination 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.
Therefore, this 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
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 cooperation.
Institutes of religious women, regional undertakings for the mission cause,
and organizations of laymen (especially international ones) should be suitably
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 work itself.
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.
31. Episcopal 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
Such cooperation, when indicated, should also be initiated between several
different episcopal conferences.
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.
When the 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.
Although the 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
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).
Therefore, all 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
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 international agencies.
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 nations.
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
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
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 becomes missionary.
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 region.
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 of Christ.(6)
39. Priests 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 souls.
Professors in 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.
40. Religious 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 work.(9)
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.
41. Laymen 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 government.
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.
They should 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. 10:32-33).
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 Cor. 4:6).
1. Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium," 48.
2. St. Augustine, "Exposition on Psalm 44," 23 (PL 36, 508; CChr 38, 510).
1. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 1.
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).
Concerning 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 Gentium," 4.
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.
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; etc.
13. Tertullian, "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,
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 Redintegratio" 1.
17. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium" 14.
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 Dec. 23.
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; constitution, "The Church
in the Modern World."
3. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 17.
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. Roman Ritual.
6. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 14.
7. Cf. St. Augustine, "Tract on John" 11, 4 (PL 35, 1476).
8. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 9.
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, 3ff.
13. Cf. Ib., 11, 35, 41.
14 Cf. decree, "On Oriental Churches" 30.
15 Epistle to Diognetus, 5 (PG 2, 1173); Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 38.
16. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 32; Decree "On Lay
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 Ecumenism," 4.
22 Cf John XXIII, "Princeps Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 842).
23. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 29.
24. Cf. John XXIII"
Princeps Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 855).
25. The reference is to expressions of this kind: "catechistes a plein
temps,n "full time catechists."
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 Gentium," 25.
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
5. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 13.
6. Cf. Allocution of Paul VI at the canonization of the Uganda Martyrs (AAS
7. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 13.
1. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 17.
2. "Institutes" refer to orders, congregations, institutions and associations
which work in the missions.
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 Council.
6. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 41.
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 Gentium," 18.
2. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 23.
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 Ecumenism," 12.
2. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 23-24.
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 Gentium," 28.
8. Cf. Pius XI, "Rerum Ecclesiae" (AAS 1926, 72).
9. Cf. Dogmatic constitution "Lumen Gentium," 44.
10. Cf. Ibid. 33, 35.
11. Cf. Pius XII, "Evangelii Praecones" (AAS 1951, 510, 514)John XXIII,
"Princeps Pastorum" (AAS 1959, 851-852).
12. Cf. Dogmatic constitution, "Lumen Gentium," 46.
13. Cf. Pius XII, "Evangelii Praecones" (AAS 1951, 527)John XXIII, "Princeps Pastorum" ( AAS 1959, 864 ).