Summary of Council Propositions on the Missions

This is the summary of the ecumenical council propositions on the missions released by the council press office.

Series of Propositions on the Missionary Activity of the Church


This schema is composed of an Introduction and of 13 Propositions. The Introduction recalls the evangelical message which must reach all men, even to the utmost ends of the earth. Present-day circumstances — the spread of the Gospel in recently emerged nations, the de-Christianization of so-called Christian nations, scientific progress, the evolution of social conditions, the ever-increasing ecumenical awareness of the Church — demand reorganization of the work of evangelization and of the missionary apostolate.

The following propositions are applicable only to those countries where the ecclesiastical hierarchy has not yet been organized and for those areas where the Christian community is not yet self-sufficient.


1. The Church is the universal means of salvation willed by Christ Himself, hence the explicit duty to announce the Gospel to all men.

2. a) The bishops, in union with the pope and under his authority, have the task of sending messengers of the Gospel everywher

b) It is necessary that, in addition to episcopal conferences, there should be established conferences composed of religious men and women belonging to a particular area. All the conferences should propose to the Holy See new rules to determine the relationships between Religious and their own bishop, who is the head and the leader of all apostolates.

c) Always under the direction of the bishop, close collaboration should be established between missionary institutes.

d) Before preaching the Gospel by word of mouth, missionaries should first undertake to preach it through example, through a life of humility, simplicity and poverty.

3. In the task of establishing the Church in a given country, attention should be paid to the various stages of evangelization.

a) Finding in the cultural patrimony of each country elements which are in harmony with the Gospel messag Then, through works, making known the charity of Christ, His meekness and profound humanness.

b) Preaching the message of a living God, and ofChrist who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

c) Inducing converts to lead an authentic life of Faithand charity, through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

d) Continuing the instruction of new Christians through appropriate instructions, enabling them to participate actively in the life of the Christian community through the liturgy, Catholic Action, etc. In this way the new community will become missionary-minded itself and will be a sign of the presence of God in the wor

e) In countries where complete evangelization is not possible, teaching at least those religious and moral truths which derive from the natural law.

4. There should be organized at the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith a “Central Evangelization Board” to unite all (bishops of all rites, religious and pontifical organizations) engaged in missionary activity.

a) The task of this board will be to draw up a body of directive principles governing all the missionary activity of the Churc

b) It will be assisted by a secretariat composed of experts, with the task of keeping it informed on the religious situation in the world, and on methods of evangelization in view of promoting better missionary cooperation, e.g., assistance to poor churches.

5. Bishops should remember that, by virtue of their episcopal consecration, they are at the service of the Universal Church. Hence they must be interested in:

a) sending some priests from their diocese into mission territories;

b) promoting the recruitment of vocations for missionary institutes;

c) providing financial assistance for the missions;

d) supporting and developing pontifical missionary organizations in their own diocese

Missionary bishops should remember they are not to devote all their time and strength only to those who have been converted.

6. Priests, both diocesan and Religious, who are the ministers of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, must feel inspired to participate in the work of evangelization. They must take measures to stir up missionary vocations among the faithful, especially in youth organizations and Catholic schools.

7. Contemplative Religious must always bear in mind that the salvation of a multitude of men depends on their prayers and sacrifices. The Church expects from contemplatives more far-reaching collaboration in the task of evangelizing the wor The superiors of active congregations should see to the adaptation of their form of the religious life to local culture and conditions.

8. The laity must provide for the missions their own contribution of prayer, sacrifice and material assistanc All those who have been moved by the desire to collaborate in various social activities in emerging countries are strongly urged to collaborate with Christians of other confessions, with non-Christians and with international organizations, acting always in such a way that social progress will contribute to regenerating the human race in Christ.

9. Catholics must collaborate not only with Christians of other churches, conformably to the directives laid down in the Constitution on Ecumenism, but also with non-Christians.

10. Precisely because she is catholic, the Church is never a stranger anywher Consequently, she must diffuse a Christian culture adapted to every country and every locality. Scientific institutes have the task of adapting catechetics, the ascetical life and the liturgy, as well as studies and culture. Theological students shall be provided with thorough training in the culture of their country, especially its philosophical and theological thought, in order to make useful comparisons with the Christian religion.

11. Missionaries must have a solid technical and scientific formation in order the better to know the people among whom they carry on their apostolate and in order to make better use of the means of the apostolate at their disposa

12. This proposition takes up the work of catechists in the mission

13. The last proposition deals with the erection of institutes of higher study with the special task of studying the sociology of countries to be evangelized.

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