Redemptoris Missio 75cd: The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

To the congregation responsible for missionary activity it falls “to direct and coordinate throughout the world the work of evangelizing peoples and of missionary cooperation, with due regard for the competence of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.”(Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (1988) 85; cf. Ad Gentes, 29)Hence, its task is to “recruit missionaries and distribute them in accordance with the more urgent needs of various regions…draw up an ordered plan of action, issue norms and directives, as well as principles which are appropriate for the work of evangelization, and assist in the initial stages of their work.” (Ad Gentes, 29: Cf. Pastor Bonus 86)

The other document cited here is Pope John Paul II’s 1988 “reform” of the Curia. You may know that Pope Francis has instituted his own update of this, as is a pope’s prerogative.

I can only confirm these wise directives. In order to re-launch the mission ad gentes, a center of outreach, direction and coordination is needed, namely, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. I invite the Episcopal Conferences and their various bodies, the major superiors of orders, congregations and institutes, as well as lay organizations involved in missionary activity, to cooperate faithfully with this Dicastery, which has the authority necessary to plan and direct missionary activity and cooperation worldwide.

A worldwide coordination is definitely needed. Too often the Church works in isolated silos, each diocese, region, cleric, ministry, parish, or individual working for themselves. It dilutes our effectiveness as a Body.

The curial body responsible for evangelization dates back to 1622.

The same congregation, which has behind it a long and illustrious history, is called to play a role of primary importance with regard to reflection and programs of action which the Church needs in order to be more decisively oriented toward the mission in its various forms. To this end, the congregation should maintain close relations with the other Dicasteries of the Holy See, with the local churches and the various missionary forces. In an ecclesiology of communion in which the entire Church is missionary, but in which specific vocations and institutions for missionary work ad gentes remains indispensable, the guiding and coordinating role of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples remains very important in order to ensure a united effort in confronting great questions of common concern, with due regard for the competence proper to each authority and structure.

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Redemptoris Missio 75cd: The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

  1. Liam says:

    It might be asked if and to what extent did the creation of the Propoganda Fide in the Early Modern period, or how it was implemented, perhaps had the unintended effect of a relative infantilization of local churches under its jurisdiction in ways not seen in the centuries post-Toleration. As I commented in an earlier post, the USA only ceased to be “mission” territory in the early 1900s.

    Rome was very much involved in directing evangelisation in places like the island of Great Britain (even after Scots/Irish evangelisation during the early Anglo-Saxon era), what are now the Low Countries and Germany and Moravia and western Slavic peoples. Then came the Crusading era in the Levant and Baltic littoral and the Iberian Reconquista (completed harshly and with harsh residue just before the Reformation era), and finally evangelization by royal marriage of the pagan Lithuanians with the Catholic Poles.

    I wonder if the PF when it was created was ruddered by rationalism of a type common in the waters of the Early Modern period, a rationalism triggered by the sheer global vastness of the mandate that far exceeded (by orders of magnitude) any prior evangelisation.

    I would contrast it with the vastly more slender evangelisation by the Church of The East, in the wake of the Islamic conquest of Persia, across the Silk Roads of central Asia newly reopened by the Sui Dynasty (and sustained by the successor Tang Dynasty) of China in the early AD 7th century, an evangelisation that bore significant fruit in China but that has been nearly lost to history after persecutions in the late Tang Dynasty but more conclusively the Timurid onslaught of the early 14th century.

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