Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

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The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Latin: Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelizatione) in Rome is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities. It is perhaps better known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Latin: Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide), or simply the Propaganda Fide.

In principle it is responsible for pre-diocesan missionary jurisdictions (of the Latin rite) : Mission sui iuris, Apostolic prefecture (neither entitled to a titular bishop) Apostolic vicariate; equivalents of other rites (e.g. Apostolic exarchate) are in the sway of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. However many former missionary jurisdictions -mainly in the Third World- remain, after promotion to diocese of (Metropolitan) Archdiocese, under the Propaganda Fide instead of the normally competent Congregation for the Bishops, notably in countries/regions where the Catholic church is too poor/ small (as in most African countries) to aspire self-sufficiency and/or local authorities hostile to Catholic/Christian/any (organized) faith.

It was founded by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to arrange missionary work on behalf of the various religious institutions, and in 1627 Pope Urban VIII established within it a training college for missionaries, the Pontificio Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide. When Pope Paul VI reorganized and adjusted the tasks of the Roman Curia with the publication of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae on August 15, 1967, the name of the congregation was changed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.[1][2]

The early Congregation was established in the Palazzo Ferratini, donated by Juan Bautista Vives, to the south of the Piazza di Spagna. Two of the foremost artistic figures of Baroque Rome were involved in the development of the architectural complex; the sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini and the architect Francesco Borromini.

The current Prefect of the Congregation is Cardinal Fernando Filoni. The current Secretary is Archbishop Protase Rugambwa.[3] The current Secretary (and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies)[4] is Archbishop Giampietro Del Toso[5] The Under-Secretary is Father Ryszard Szmydki, O.M.I.[6] The Archivist of the Archives of the Congregation is Monsignor Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos. Monsignors Lorenzo Piva and Camillus Nimalan Johnpillai assist as Office Heads of the Congregation.[7]

History

Alexandre de Rhodes' Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum, published by the Propaganda Fide in 1651.

Founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV's bull Inscrutabili Divinae, the body was charged with fostering the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of Catholic ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries. The intrinsic importance of its duties and the extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under its jurisdiction caused the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda to be known as the "red pope".

At the time of its inception, the expansion of colonial administrations was coming to be largely in Dutch and English hands, both Protestant countries intent on spreading these religious doctrines, and Rome perceived the very real threat of Protestantism spreading in the wake of commercial empire. By 1648, with the end of the Thirty Years' War, the official religious balance of established Christianity in Europe was permanently stabilized, but new fields for evangelization were offered by vast regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas then being explored.

There had already been a less formally instituted cardinal committee concerned with propaganda fide since the time of Pope Gregory XIII (1572–1585), which were especially charged with promoting the union with Rome of the long-established eastern Christian communities: Slavs, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, and Abyssinians. This was the traditional direction for the Catholic Church to look for evangelizing. Catechisms were printed in many languages and seminarians sent to places as far as Malabar. The most concrete result was the union with Rome of the Ruthenian Catholic communion, most concentrated in modern-day Ukraine and Belarus; the union was formalized at Brest in 1596.

The death of Gregory XV the following year did not interrupt the organization, because Cardinal Barberini, one of the original thirteen members of the congregation, became the next pope as Urban VIII (1623–1644). Under Urban VIII, a central seminary (the Collegium Urbanum) was set up for training missionaries. The Congregation also operated the polyglot printing press in Rome, printing catechisms in many languages. Their procurators were especially active in China from 1705, moving between Macau and Canton before finally settling in Hong Kong in 1842.

In strongly Protestant areas, the operations of the Congregation were considered subversive: the first missionary to be killed was in Grisons, Switzerland, in April 1622, before the papal bull authorizing its creation had been disseminated. In Ireland after Catholic emancipation (1829) while the established church was still the Protestant Church of Ireland, the Irish Catholic church came under the control of the Congregation in 1833, and soon reformed itself with a devotional revolution under Cardinal Cullen.

The Holy See removed the United States from the jurisdiction of Propaganda Fide as mission territory in 1908, along with England, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Canada.

These "Cardinals in General Congregation" met weekly, keeping their records in Latin until 1657, then in Italian. The minutes are available in microfilm (filling 84 reels) at large libraries. In the course of their work, the Propaganda fide missionaries accumulated the objects now in the Vatican Museum's Ethnological Missionary Museum.

Since 1989 the incumbent Prefect is also President of the Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious.

In 2014 Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, thus becoming the first woman to be appointed a member of a Roman curial congregation.[8]


Other Languages
Ελληνικά: Propaganda Fide
日本語: 福音宣教省
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kongregacija za jevanđelizaciju naroda