Now that we have completed reading the Council’s four Constitutions and three Declarations, we now move to the first of the nine Decrees. First up is Ad Gentes: The Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church.
Ad Gentes is the longest of the Council’s Decrees and comes in behind only Lumen Gentium and Gaudiem et Spes in terms of length. This document is key to understanding all the present day talk of the New Evangelization as it puts into perspective the ever-present Gospel mandate to go out to all the nations.
Article 1 starts us off with a Preface to the six chapters that make up the document. The Council Fathers acknowledge the Gospel mandate and deisre to use this ias an opportunity to flesh out how the Church follows this mandate in our current historical circumstances.
Here are the Scripture citations:
cf. Mark 16:16
cf. Matt. 5:13-14
cf. Ecc. 36:19
And the footnotes:
1. Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium,” 48.
2. St. Augustine, “Exposition on Psalm 44,” 23 (PL 36, 508; CChr 38, 510).