VATICAN - The missionary world at the opening of the Council: waiting for new energy for missions

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Fides Agency on October 10, 1962, commenting on the Missionary Intention reports the expectations of the missionary world on the eve of the opening of the Council. "The Second Vatican Council is already a reality with its own peculiar character, one of the elements of which is the presence of about 600 bishops from missionary territories. It is the first time in the history of the Church that so many Pastors, directly responsible for the conversion of pagans, have been gathered together around the Vicar of Christ and in immediate contact with the Bishops of those countries where the majority of Catholics live. In the countries that the new Apostles represent in the Council, a few million Catholics are living amidst a third of the world population, which today has over the three billion inhabitants. Africa, Asia and Oceania are still waiting for the Gospel to be preached on such a large scale that it may lead vast numbers to the feet of the Divine Redeemer. The presence of the missionary bishops brings the whole world that has been Catholic for centuries, and especially its pastors face-to-face with this tragic situation, thus putting the whole episcopate in immediate contact with the problems of the universal Church ...
One of the principal results to be hoped for from the Council is a fuller sharing of the work of the missions by the entire Catholic world. Until now shortage of missionaries has been an ostacle to a more abundant harvest. No one expects miraculous solutions to problems, but if the clergy, bishops and priests of the Christian countries, are invited to greater zeal in instilling a conquering missionary spirit, more vocations may spring up and so give the missionary Church new strength. If our Christian communities are brought up in the future not only at home, but also in every diocese and religious institutes, new heralds of the Gospel can be recruited...
Another contribution to the sacred cause of missions is expected by the Council. According to the Supreme Pontiff’s words, the first and immediate purpose of the Council is to show the world the Church in its perennial vigour of life and truth and with its legislation adjusted to present circumstances. These intentions concern missionary territory in a special way, because in them the climate, the temperament and customs of the people differ so very much from those of other Christian countries. It can therefore be considered certain that the Council will issue decrees and directives which will allow for the principles of adaptation to be realized in a complete and practical manner: in this way the Church will be seen as not a foreign or opposed to those particular points which all races preserve with jealous care and understandable pride, as their proper patrimony." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 11/10/2012)


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