Ecclesiae Sanctae III Introduction

After Vatican II, you liturgy geeks will recall that a small raft of documents was produced to guide the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The 1966 document Ecclesiae Sanctae was intended to do the same for the documents addressing bishops, clergy, religious, and missionary activity. Think of Ecclesiae Sanctae as a parallel to the series of liturgy documents started with Sacram Liturgiam (1964), and continued with Inter Oecumenici (1964), Tres Abhinc Annos (1967), and Liturgicae Instaurationes (1970).

The section of Ecclesiae Sanctae treating norms for implementing Ad Gentes has twenty-four numbered sections. But first, there’s a brief introduction:


Since the Decree Ad Gentes Divinitus (On the Missionary Activity of the Church) of the Holy Second Vatican Council must be in force for the universal Church and be faithfully observed by everyone so that the whole Church may become truly missionary and the entire People of God become aware of its missionary obligation, local Ordinaries should see to it that the Decree comes to the knowledge of all the faithful. Discourses on the Decree should be given to the clergy and sermons preached to the people in which everyone’s responsibility in conscience with regard to missionary activity is pointed out and inculcated.

Rather optimistic, I’d say. Note that the whole Church is intended to become missionary, not just a subset of those called to the mission apostolate. The bishop is also responsible for advancing this evangelical quality among the clergy and laity of his diocese. Note also the importance given to sermons (not homilies) to people. Does the annual mission co-op preacher satisfy this directive?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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