Day #200: Ad Gentes 6

Today we read again from Chapter I of the Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church.

In article 6, the Council Fathers assert that the Church’s mission is always the same, even if it is carried out in a variety of ways at different times and in different places due to changing circumstances.

Here are the Scripture citations:

cf. 1 Peter 1:23

cf. Acts 2:43

And the footnotes:

14. Already St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the apostolic duty of “planting” the Church; cf. “Sent.” Book I, Dist. 16, q. 1, 2 ad 2 and ad 4 a. 3 sol., “Summa Theol.” 1.q.43, a. 7 ad 6, I, II q. 106 A. 4 AD 4. Cf. Benedict XV, “Maximum Illud” Nov. 30, 1919 (AAS 1919, 445 and 453); Pius XI, “Rerum Ecclesiae,” Feb. 28, 1926 (AAS 1926, 74); Pius XII, April 30, 1939, to the directors of the Pontifical Missionary Societies; id., June 24, 1944, to the directors of the Pontifical Missionary Societies (AAS 1944, 210, again in AAS 1950, 727, and 1951 508), id., June 29, 1948, to the native clergy (AAS 1948, 374); id., “Evangelii Praecones,” June 2, 1951 (AAS 1951, 507); id., “Fidei Donum,” Jan. 15, 1957 (AAS 1957, 236); John XXIII, “Princeps Pastorum,” Nov. 28, 1959 (AAS, 1959, 835), Paul VI, homily Oct. 18, 1964 (AAS 1964, 911).

Both the supreme pontiffs and the Fathers and scholastics have spoken of the expansion of the Church: St. Thomas Aquinas, commentary on Matt. 16:28; Leo XIII, encyclical “Sancta Dei Civitas” (AAS, 1880, 241); Benedict XV, encyclical, “Maximum Illud” (AAS 1919, 442); Pius XI, encyclical, “Rerum Ecclesiae” (AAS, 1926, 65).

15. In this notion of missionary activity, as is evident, according to the circumstances, even those parts of Latin America are included in which there is neither a hierarchy proper to the region, nor maturity of Christian life, nor sufficient preaching of the Gospel. Whether or not such territory de facto is recognized as missionary by the Holy See does not depend on this council. Therefore, regarding the connection between the notion of missionary activity and a certain territory, it is wise to say that this activity “in the majority of cases” is exercised in certain territories recognized by the Holy See.

16. Decree “Unitates Redintegratio” 1.


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