Pre -Vatican documents

The Pre-Vatican documents the Church deals with are: Maxim illud, by Pope Benedict XV which speaks of the training of the native clergyand speaks that the Missionary should be selfless and they should forget their native country. The second document is Rerum Ecclessiae on promoting the sacred mission by Pope XI: it gives us a new thought that Church is essentiallymissionary or mission is not an extra task of the Church. The non-Catholics are outside the church and have to be brought in, which speak of seven mission collection made by Universal church and four Pontifical mission societies. This document also stresses the missionaries to promote local vocation and missionary should avoid to build the grand building. Religious order if they find that they cannot provide enough missionaries let others come and work. The 3rd document is Summii Pontificatus by Pope PiusXII speaks that the principle of adaption which must pervade the entire activity of the church in the mission country. The doctrine is based on the unity of the human race and equality of all people. The church will show her true catholicity. Her ideal is not exterior uniformity but healthy pluralism in the unity of faith. The 4th document is address to the directors of Pontifical mission work which speak the missionary shouldn’t impose theircultures to the mission land and don’t make the Christian a foreign in his land. The 5th document is Evangelii Praecones which speak of the role to be played by the laity for the evangelisation. The missionary should be well educated and speaks of co-operation between the religious orders. The 6th document is Fidei Donum by Pope Pius XII which warns the many social problem faced by newly emerging African countries and which speaks of spread of Islam and hospitality to shown to the African and Asian students who are studying there. The 7th document is Princebs Pastorum by Pope John XXIII which speaks of the spiritual training of the local clergy and the local clergy can also become spiritual directors. It recommends that seminarians have to give enough responsibilities and training in administration. Missionary should get missionary course on mission. Missionary should use the talents of local priestbecause they understand the culture better. Help the laity to deepen their faith and salvation should not be individualistic. Encourage lay leaders to take active part in public life and in politics.
Concept of Mission in Pre- Vatican
Mission meant saving the souls of non-Christian. Pope is the only one to send the missionaries to the mission land. Mission meant to go faraway places and even give life if it is necessary. Non-Christian religion did not find any respectable place in the idea of mission since the thinking was that visible membership in Roman Catholic Church was the only way to saved. Along with the non-Christianreligion which was considered as strong holds of idolatry, Protestantism was thought of as Satan ways to spread error. In general therefore a spirit of condensation prevailed. This means Iam superior and you are inferior. There was no ecumenical concept. All works of charity done by missionaries are considered as the entry point for missionary activity but in some cases these good works were looked upon by suspicion by non-Christian. Though there were clear instruction from the part of the Church to respect the culture and wealth of the convert in mission land attempts to inculturate the good news were exemptions.
Vatican II document on Mission
Vatican II document which deal with the mission are Lumen Gentium number 13, 16, 17. The emphasis on people of God. The mission of the Church is to gather all the people spread all over the world. Jesus is send to gather all the scattered people. We are gathered in this union and this union is by word and sacrament. The church does not destroy the culture but strengthens, elevates the culture as the humble servant. It speaks of religious life, one Church. one people of God and says that church of God subsist in the roman Catholic Church(LG 13).LG number 16 speaks of different groups of people of God. There is first Jew then Muslims. LG number 17 speaks that the sustenance of mission is God’s wish,. The new idea we find here is that whatever good is found in the mind and hearts of men or in the rights and customs of people these not only are preserved from destruction but are purified perfected for the glory of God, the confusion of devil and the happiness of man. The second document is Gaudium et Spes: it is the document full of new ideas and positive attitudes towards the world, world is not evil but rather world is good and it a redeemed world. The cultures of the world are treasures and they also can be used to express the will of God. The Gospel can be introduced according to the understanding of different people. Adaptation of the preaching of the revealed word must remain as the law of evangelisation. The 3rd document is Ad Gentes: it is exclusively for the missionary activity. Jesus is the original sacrament and he is both God and man. Christ is the head and Church is the body. The nature of the church has its source in the Trinitarian Love of God. Mission is for the glory of God. Mission is special undertaking in which preachers of the Gospel send by the Church and going into the world, carries out the works of preaching the Gospel and implanting the Church among people who do not yet believe.
The Marked Changes in the documents Pre Vatican and Vatican II
Vatican II changed thegroup mentality of Pre VaticanII to universal mentality. From pretending to know everything to accept that we are in the process of coming to know better. Vatican II says that the Church has to be a humble Church. The Church of God not exists but subsist in the Catholic Church. Before Vatican second the task of the task of the hierarchy. People participating in mission by helping them financially and praying for them. In VaticanII there was a big revolution, it teaches us that church is the people God, so all are call to participate in the church’s mission. Protestants are no longer heretics but they are our brothers and sisters. The church is not up in arm to destroy non-Christian religion but to help them by means of good news and by witnessing to a life lived according to it. Before the Vatican II council the idea of service was understood as a preevangelisation. Instead the council teaches us that the Church’s evangelizing mission includes proclamation of good news, the administration of the sacrament, witness and service of different kinds. The concept of authority is no longer unilateral, domineering; it is service in the Church for the sake of building up the Kingdom of God in the hearts of people. It takes care of strengthening dialogue, collaboration,cooperation and promotes the exercise of subsidiarity. Above all persons in authority respect the freedom of the individual. Vatican II teaches that the spark of the religious truths also found outside the visible boundaries of the Church and therefore they should be respected. No one should force to embrace the Christian faith.
Jesus commanded his disciple to preach the good news to the whole world because he came to save what was lost that means his salvation is for all. Every Missionary who follows Christ should bear this in mind and proclaim the good news accordingly. We were learning what is the mind of the Church before Vatican and after Vatican. The narrow mind became broadened and we are able to accept all because all religion has the traces of truth. The task of missionary is not only preaching Christ but also living according to the Gospel values. Our life should be the model for all to follow Christ. Our life should attract the people to Christ. When we are in the mission we should start to love the people, their culture, their language, and their costumes and then our mission life will be fruitful. No one should force embrace the Christian faith but seeing and experiencing our life people should come to our faith. When we are in the mission from our part there should not be any discrimination and we should consider all with one heart and mind then people will start to love us and Christ. Their lives should be changed by seeing our life. Make people more aware about the political and social issues for that we should study about their political and social issues then it is easy for us to involve in their problem. We should be the voice of the voiceless. Christ will give us the courage when we start to work for the poor and needy. Let us have zealous desire and wish for the mission life and let us encourage others also for the mission. God shower your abundant graces to all missionaries.

About bodhicap

This is the journal-blog from the Capuchins at Bodhi Institute of Theology, Tillery, Kollam, India.
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