It is necessary first and foremost to strive to establish Christian communities everywhere, communities which are “a sign of the presence of God in the world”(Ad Gentes 15) and which grow until they become churches. Notwithstanding the high number of dioceses, there are still very large areas where there are no local churches or where their number is insufficient in relation to the vastness of the territory and the density of the population. There is still much to be done in implanting and developing the Church. This phase of ecclesial history, called the plantatio Ecclesiae, has not reached its end; indeed, for much of the human race it has yet to begin.
It would seem the work of the first centuries has stalled, but for many Christians of the Middle Ages, it may be that the realms of Asia and deeper Africa were mythological. Maybe it was felt the work was done.
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