Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - "The ongoing commitment of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, together with the Episcopal Conferences and individual Bishops, is to bring the local Churches in mission territories and create all those structures and legal staff that allow, together with the pastoral life, to administer justice, source of peaceful coexistence". This is what today Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples highlighted in his speech delivered at the Universidad San Damaso in Madrid, on the occasion of the academic day promoted by the Faculty of Canon Law, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "Perfectae Caritatis" and "Ad Gentes" conciliar Decrees.
Illustrating the theme "The reception of the Canon Law in the territories of mission and the special powers granted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples", Cardinal Filoni outlined a broad historical overview, from the beginning of the missionary activity, in the XII century when "the missionaries enjoyed powers and privileges because the missions were extraordinary circumstances and the common law could not always be observed in its totality".
Today, the CEP has 186 archdioceses, 785 dioceses, 82 Apostolic vicariates, 39 apostolic prefectures, four apostolic administrations, 6 missio sui iuris, 1 territorial abbey and 6 military ordinariates under its jurisdiction. "This administrative variety - said the Cardinal - indicates the inadequacy and, one might even say, in certain contexts, the extreme difficulty to apply the law. This means that the common law is applied where it is possible, in other cases special powers are still needed".
After having focused on the current special powers of the Congregation regarding various areas of intervention, reconfirmed by Pope Benedict XVI on April 30, 2005, the Prefect of the Congregation concluded by saying that "the powers granted to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples are intended to facilitate the organic development of the ecclesiastical society, with regards to the primacy of love, of grace and of the Gospel". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 10/11/2015)