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Sabine Demel

From Culture- to Faith Mission

The Mandate of the Second Vatican Council


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 2006/7, P. 435-449
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    The texts of the Second Vatican Council contain important impulses for a new definition of the Catholic conception of mission. SABINE DEMEL, professor for ecclesiastical law at the Regensburg University, analyses to what extent the legal and practical realization of the Council texts succeeded and where their till today lasting challenge lies.


Has Christian mission with its historical burden of colonialism, nationalism and imperialism today still any right to exist at all? Is mission today really still opportune? Is mission still allowed at all in view of the new definition of the Catholic Church's relation to the non-Christian religions? These questions gradually emerged during the Second Vatican Council {1} and are today more topical than ever:

"In Europe one can at present observe that "mission" as ecclesiological conception and church practice has become most suspect. According to a common opinion Christian mission has no business in a religiously plural society, since it is as mentality or as norm of behaviour allegedly not compatible with religious pluralism. According to this understanding the term 'mission' is equated with religious propaganda, with persuading to change one's faith, with interference into the private sphere, with setting absolute the Christian point of view, with intolerance towards members of a different faith and unbelievers. Due to this understanding resp. obstinate prejudice, the practice and theory of mission are under apologetic justification pressure." {2}

It is all the more amazing that the term "mission" almost booms in the extra-religious area and obviously has only a positive meaning, when one can completely naturally speak here of "political peace missions", of "UN-missions in crisis areas" or of space and universe missions of manned spaceships {3}. In view of this reality it seems appropriate to take a religion-scientific look at the phenomenon "mission" before dealing with the Catholic understanding of mission.


Mission - Invitation to Decision

Religion-scientifically regarded religion can be passed on in a threefold way: by the (biological) descent community, by the propagation of political rule, and by mission. For the closer characterisation and demarcation of those three forms it is to state {4}:
The passing on of religion by the descent community is the most original and fundamental way of passing on. For that reason it is also practised in all religions.



Its characteristic is that it is passed on by parents to their children together with the natural life, with the aim to keep alive those religious foundations on which the community lives, and which give it as community the feeling of security. The passing on of religion by the descent community is the only kind of passing on that in principle can exist by itself alone but actually it is connected in almost all religions with one of the two other ways of passing on.

The passing on of religion by expansion of political rule is a secondary form of passing on. It develops when a descent community expands its political sphere of influence, with it conquers another descent community and forces upon it the religion of the new government. Here above all those religious values are emphasized that legitimate and stabilize the power and the influence of the new political rule.

Also the passing on of religion by mission is a secondary form of passing on. It comes into being by religious communities that pass on their religious conviction not only in their descent community, but make it accessible also to people outside of their descent community, and this theoretically as well as practically, i.e. they also invite to take part in the practice of their community. The specific of mission is that it is the only form of passing on religion that leaves the free decision to the individual, but also expects it. For mission does not simply pass on certain religious values, as it happens in the descent community, nor does it force them upon others, as the propagation of political power does, but mission courts and offers for acquisition those religious basic values that it considers as fundamental for all human beings, and that it therefore wants to grant, if possible, to all of them. It is its aim to make religious teachings accessible for free decision. This has the consequence that the missionary religion can always win only the individual, because a free decision can only be made by each human being personally. The missionary passing on of religion is therefore a connection of universality and individuality: It addresses all people, but can be accepted in each case only by the individual in liberty.

But the freedom resp. the free offer of religious convictions as special characteristic of mission has also as consequence that the missionary passing on of religion cannot exist in itself but must always associate with one of the two other forms. There is no missionary religion that has spread solely in the way of mission. Mission always depends on individual people accepting its religious offer in liberty and passing it on in the context of the descent- or political community.



If therefore an entire family or population embraces an (other) religion, it is no longer about mission but the connection of mission with one of the two other basic types of passing on religion.

Especially when mission is connected with political expansion there is the danger that "the missionary form of religious propagation is soon disfigured past recognition; as a rule then the form of expansion dominates over the form of mission. The reason for it is that by the expansion of political power much larger numbers of people can religiously be put under pressure than can be reached by mission in the true sense." {5}

Such an overlapping of mission work and political expansion was for a long time the sad missionary reality of many religions, of Christianity too. This led to the fact that till today mission is often equated with imperial expansion, and therefore scorned. For that reason this imperial overlapping of mission can only be avoided, if the religions acknowledge the principle of freedom of religion in theory and also in the practice of their missionary work.


Mission - Continuation of Jesus Christ's Mission

The topicality of the initially mentioned questions about the missionary spreading of the Christian faith required that the Second Vatican Council treated the topic "mission" not only briefly and by the way, but it had to be unfolded in his vital importance for the church. The Council fulfilled this task by dedicating a decree of its own "Ad gentes" to the topic 'mission', and by rooting therein the Christian mission in God's salvation plan.

Since God wants that all people are saved, i.e. are united with him, he sent his Son into the world. In its origin Christian mission is therefore God's incarnation in Jesus Christ who lived what he preached: God bestows his love on all human beings, particularly on the poor and lost. Jesus Christ died as Saviour for the divine salvation plan, and to continue his mission sent the Holy Spirit who led to the foundation of the church. It is the substantial task of the church to continue Jesus Christ's mission in the strength of the Holy Spirit: to lead all people to salvation, to the community with God. What Jesus Christ began in his Incarnation is symbolically expressed in the church: The Kingdom of God has begun. The church is so the "Sacrament of God's mission" {6}.

Hence the church from its origin as well as from its nature is under the obligation to be missionary, i.e. to be "as envoy on the way" to the people, and that according to the example of Jesus Christi and in connection with him.



That means that the church has to practise its mission in the same way as Jesus Christ, namely as descending to the people and their poverty, as kénosis, as humiliation up to self-sacrifice (AG 5.2).

And this discipleship in Christ's mission" on the way chosen by him is by no means of mere moral nature (imitation): It has, if one may put it in this way, an ontological or structural aspect. Christ had been sent to announce the poor the good news. The mission that takes agápe, giving, merciful love as its starting point, always turns to the poor. It is in its deepest logic that, so to speak, its predilection, its preference is directed to the very poorest." {7}

This theological foundation of the church mission has rightly been called "fundamental theology of the Christian mission", and represents an "epochal paradigm change within the official Catholic mission theology" {8}.

As inspired as the theological-ecclesiological view of Christian mission as deeply rooted in the triune God's salvation plan is, so problematic is the hierarchical narrowness in the concrete organization of the church mission. For it is not developed from the People of God but the bishops under the pope's leadership (see AG 1, 5, 6, 20). The foundation for this "model of a mission hierarchy" {9} is the Biblical tradition of Jesus' express mission order to the apostles, to which the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity refers. Jesus' word, "Go and teach all peoples, baptize them, and teach them to hold all the things which I taught you to hold" (Mt 28:19f.; Mk 16:15) is primarily addressed to the apostles, and thus to the bishops as their successors who - like the apostles under St Peter - are united under the pope as St Peter's successors. Thus there is some discrepancy between the ecclesiology of the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity 'Ad gentes' and the ecclesiology of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium".

Instead of entrusting - as in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - the whole People of God with the continuation of Jesus Christ's mission, and with it assigning to the bishops the leadership and the organization of all missionary activities, in the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity the continuation of Jesus Christ's mission is "first and immediately" transferred to the bishops with and under the Pope (AG 38.1), while all other members of the People of God are obviously only in a subordinate and indirect way destined to the missionary work {10}. "Mission is understood here tendentiously rather as faithful as possible conservation and propagation of the original from "above" and "inside" to "below" and "outside" {11}, whereas in the theological foundation the thought prevails that "mission was invitation and gathering of God's People, wandering on Jesus' traces through always new spaces and times, and constantly changing in the spirit of Jesus on the way to the Kingdom of the Father" {12}. Above all the texts in AG 29 and AG 35-37 are promising beginnings of this view. They clearly characterize mission as the absolute task of the whole church {13}.



Mission - Inculturation, Freedom of Religion, Dialogue

A new foundation of the missionary conception of itself automatically requires an appropriate adjustment of the principles and methods of the missionary work. The relevant considerations of the Council Fathers and of their interpreters can be summarized under the three key-words inculturation, freedom of religion and dialogue. It is to be noted that the term 'inculturation' was not yet used by the Council itself, but emerged only later {14}. The basic ideas of inculturation however are no doubt on the line of the Council statements about mission. One can even say that what 'inculturation' means is a direct consequence of the salvation-historical embodiment of mission in Jesus Christ's Incarnation. A further conclusion can be attached: As inculturation follows from Incarnation, so freedom of religion and dialogue are the necessary conditions for inculturation. For inculturation is impossible without freedom of religion and dialogue. Or differently said: Wherever inculturation is practised there freedom of religion and dialogue are already realized. These mission-theological connections of Incarnation, inculturation, freedom of religion and dialogue result from the following train of thought:

Mission as Radical Inculturation. If mission - in the discipleship of Jesus Christ - demands humiliation, detachment and self-sacrifice of him who does missionary work - and, to be precise, ontologically demands - then the church doing missionary work, the local as well as the world church, not only can and may preach the gospel, but has rather to enter into the nature of a community, tribe or people, has to assume its 'You', and has to free itself from itself, to be able to incarnate itself and in it Christ in another community. It has to grasp the real soul of this community, of this social group, so that Christ and his church are at home there." {15} Hence mission does not pull the gospel over the native culture and the civilization of a people or displaces them, but enables the Incarnation of Christ and his church in this culture and civilization {16}.

So the mission activity forces the church always anew to think about the expressions of its faith, to recognize their relativity, "and to cleanse itself of wrong identifications with realities that in truth do not belong to the order of faith but to the orders of this world" {17}. Seen in this way one can even formulate: Faith needs the missionary work, respectively its process of purification to be able to remain faith {18}. Reversely seen: Only if faith is constantly purified the Christian mission will be a real "faith mission", and not degenerate to a "culture mission" {19}.



With that the hitherto usual mission method of adaptation, respectively accommodation - as adjustment of the gospel to the native cultural, religious and social conditions, as far as these do not contradict Christian principles (see in this sense e.g. still SC 37-40) -, is overcome. It is replaced by a new and theologically deeply embodied method of inculturation. It is founded in Incarnation and has to happen like Incarnation {20}. Because of that inculturation is radical in comparison with adaptation and accommodation. For it is not only a more or less internal adjustment, as it were a one-way process from faith to culture {21}, but the difficult, mutual but indispensable process of entering into the other culture, and thus the stony way of renunciation of oneself.

Foundation of the inculturation is the conviction that firstly the Christian faith is never met in abstract pure form, but always already in connection with a certain culture; secondly, that the Christian faith cannot be expressed in only one single cultural shape but is open for a variety of cultural forms; and thirdly, that the Christian faith cannot only be outwardly adapted to the respective culture, but must enter into the respective other culture. Inculturation as mission method thus lives on the meeting with foreign cultures on the same eye level:

"Hence inculturation means an osmotic process: it is about the integration of the Christian experience into the culture of the respective people, in such a way that this experience is not only expressed in elements of one's own culture, but becomes a force that animates, orients and renews this culture, so that in this way a new unity and community is created, not only within the culture concerned but also as an enrichment of the entire church." {22}

It is true though the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity itself does not consistently realize the basic idea of inculturation.

This becomes clear with the definition of the aim of mission in AG 6.2: "which primarily consists of the realization of the whole institutional and sacramental abundance of the church for the peoples respectively people. It is not reflected on the fact that all institutional forms of church life, the sacraments too, have in each case a specific cultural-historical development. It is rather insinuated that there is an unchangeable stock of such institutional moments that are to be put into the different situations of those people that are to be converted by missionary work." {23}

Mission and Freedom of Religion. If mission is embodied in Christ's mission and therefore inculturation is conceived as Incarnation, then it is almost natural that the principle of freedom of religion is inherent to both, to mission as such and to inculturation in particular. In this sense the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity emphasizes:

"The church forbids strictly that somebody is forced or led or attracted with inadequate means to the acceptance of faith, as it also energetically lays claim to the right that nobody is deterred from faith by unjustified pressure" (AG 13.2).



With that is, strictly speaking, only repeated what already for centuries had been an established principle of Christian mission (see also canon 1351 CIC/1917), which in practice however was often not observed. Because of this gap between mission theory (freedom of religion) and mission practice (compelling people to accept faith) it would have been desirable that the Council had not been content with emphasizing only that mission had always to maintain freedom of religion. It would have been the dictates of the hour the Council Fathers had approached the question more in principle and clearly worked out how closely mission and freedom of religion belong together:

Mission and freedom of religion are "like two sides of the same coin. They belong to one another, share the same developing conditions and depend permanently on each other. It applies to both that they forfeit their preconditions, if one tries to realize them isolated from each other:
- Mission does not remain mission, if it happens at the expense of freedom of religion.
- Freedom of religion does not remain freedom of religion; if it is understood in (such) a way that mission has no place in it. "{24}

Mission and Dialogue. In the considerations on inculturation and freedom of religion is already indirectly expressed that also Christian mission and dialogue are not contrary to each other but rather require each other. Mission as self renunciation and inculturation as cleansing of faith can even be regarded as synonymous modes of expression for the principle of dialogue. For "dialogue primarily expresses the element of understanding the foreign reality" {25}, and is thereby foundation and aim of the Christian mission and inculturation. Christian mission, inculturation and dialogue live on one and the same, namely human beings trying to think oneself in the spirit of self renunciation into other mentalities and cultures, and with it to set out to learn to understand the others The more they learn to understand, the more they learn to better understand themselves. Differently said: Mission, inculturation and dialogue are meetings in which usually both sides change, because they discover in the dialogue with men or women of other religions or cultures new aspects both in their and in the life and faith of the others {26}.

Since there is no doubt that the Catholic church in the past offended repeatedly, and partly roughly, against the principles of freedom of religion and of dialogue, a chapter on its own sinfulness and history of guilt in the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity would not only have been meaningful for the self-critical reflection, but necessary as contribution for the reliability of the reorientation {27}. From today's viewpoint it is difficult to reconstruct why this did not happen.



For actually there had been statements during the Council which pointed out to the history of guilt: "In the Council discussions an Indian bishop visualized these difficulties by saying, 'One had the House of God, i.e. the church, not built in India but sent a prefabricated house." {28}


Mission - Responsibility of all Members of the Church

One likes to reproach the church law book of 1983 (Codex Iuris Canonici, CIC) - partly rightfully, partly unjustly - that it in many law subjects adopted the insights of the Second Vatican Council only insufficiently. This reproach can by no means be raised for the mission law. Here the CIC proves as a thoroughly successful translation of the Council's new mission theology, which is presented in eleven Canones (canones 781-792) under the heading: "On the Mission Activity of the Church". Above all the aspects of the theological foundation of mission, the description of its aim and the reflection on its methods deserve attention. They also open the view for a still existing deficit in the mission understanding of the Catholic Church.

The Missionary Nature of God's People as Foundation

Already the approach to the mission topic could not have been better chosen. For the first statement of the church legislator reads: "According to its nature the church as whole is missionary" (canon 781). Thus the viewpoint of the ecclesiological embodiment of mission, as it was developed by the Council, is briefly and concisely taken up, as it were, as theological preamble to the following law statements. In agreeable difference to the Council the CIC does not slip back into a "mission hierarchy", but it unmistakably links this fundamental statement on the missionary nature of the whole church with the 'People of God Theology', by explicitly obligating all faithful to "contribute - in the knowledge of their responsibility - their part to the missionary work" (canon 781) {29}. Only after this fundamental statement on mission as characteristic of the church seen as the whole People of God, the specific functions of the pope and the bishops' assembly as well as of the individual bishops are regulated. The service function of leadership and the co-ordination of the missionary activities of the entire People of God are attributed to them (canon 782).



The Church's Missionary Work as Aim

As already the Council, so also the CIC does without a definition of mission, and is content instead with a description of the aim of the missionary activity. The terms relevant for it are "preaching the gospel" and "implanting the church". The evangelization is the fundamental task (canon 781), and the implanting of the church the specific aim (canon 786) of the missionary work. With this twofold description of mission as preaching the gospel and implanting the church, the church legislator - following the Second Vatican Council - linked two common mission concepts, which are however to be regarded as alternatives - with two supplementing each other perspectives. The one designates what is in danger to be neglected in the respective other one: In preaching the gospel the idea of implanting is contained, and in implanting the idea of preaching; without (missionary) preaching no establishment of church and without establishment of church no (missionary) preaching {30}. Again differently said:

"The preaching of the gospel precedes the establishment of church and follows the establishment of church. For as soon as a church is established itself must continue the work of preaching." {31}

Thus the classical mission formula "implanting the church" was retained; but it was filled with the new ecclesiological view of the church as "People of God", and thus the ecclesia-centred view of the missionary past was overcome. "Implanting the church" since the Council is no longer - as in former times - understood primarily legally as implanting the institution church, but is dynamically understood as implanting the People of God {32}. In this way it is not denied that also the church as God's People depends on institutional elements; but these are clearly to be understood as subordinated service for the living togetherness of God's People.

The reference that the missionary activity has then reached its aim when "the young churches are fully established" (canon 786) clarifies two things: The emphasis on the full setting-up on the one hand takes into account that the mission process does not simply run in a linear development, but is a multilayered process with situations that" anew require missionary activity" (AG 6.4). Secondly, in the criterion of the "full" establishment of the church as aim of every missionary activity the Council's clear cut of missionary and pastoral activities is reflected (AG 6.6). Aim of the missionary activity is the growing up of a new, further community of God's People and thus the establishment of a church.



When this is achieved, mission turns into pastoral; as pastoral care leading up to faith mission finds its end and pastoral care for the faithful begins {33} who at the same time are now themselves - as newly built church - obliged to continue the preaching of the gospel by word and life.

According to this clear cut between mission and pastoral also the conception of CIC says: As soon as the mission process finds its end, i.e. a church is fully established, the obligation arises that the church that was built by missionary work now itself does this work, in order to do justice to its missionary nature. Consequently a church is seen as fully established as soon as it "with forces of its own and sufficient means to continue itself the work of evangelization" (canon 786; see AG 6.3). This definition of the full establishment of a church can be described as "institutional maturity" {34}, and is characterized by the three terms self-determination, self-preservation, and self propagation. Self-determination means the presence of a hierarchy of its own (AG 6.3), self-preservation a certain financial capacity for the interests of the faithful, to which educational establishments of their own, hospitals and other things belong (AG 12), and self propagation means the ability for missionary activity of its own (AG 20) {35}.


Self-renunciation and Holistic Liberation of Man as Method

After the foundations, competence and aims of the missionary work have been represented, the view is directed to the missionary activity as such, that is to the methods of missionary work. Here too the new accents of the Council have been appropriately translated into the legal language when the missionaries are obligated above all to lead "by the testimony of their life and their word an honest dialogue with those who do not believe in Christ, so that ways to the realization oft the message of the gospel are opened for them in a way that corresponds to their culture and to their peculiar " (canon 787). The three crucial key-words are here "testimony of their life" and not only of "their word", "honest dialogue", and "according to their culture". If these weighty terms are really taken seriously, i.e. interpreted and taken to heart in the sense of the Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity, then every missionary activity is to be measured by the extent to which its self renunciation, its implanting into the other culture and the understanding of the foreign reality has succeeded, in short: to what extent it has contributed to the new Incarnation of Christ {36}.

Where 'testimony of life', 'honest dialogue', and 'different culture' are the subjects there is no longer need expressly mentioning 'freedom of religion'; it is presupposed in each of the three given mission principles, and thus sufficiently secured. If one furthermore considers that freedom of religion has to be guaranteed not only within the framework of missionary activity but in principle,



it is only sensible that it is no longer formulated in the mission law - as in the former Codex (canon 1351 CIC/1917) and in the at present valid Codex of the with the Catholic Church united Orthodox Churches (canon 586 CCEO/1990) - but as general principle at the beginning of the evangelization law (canon 748 § 2).

Finally it is also to be pointed out that with the missionaries' primary obligation to the "testimony of their life" before the testimony of "their word" (canon 787) - appropriately and sufficiently is expressed that evangelization doubtlessly implies the devotion to the world in its need, and to the holistic liberation of men. In so far we cannot comprehend that some people discover in the mission concept of the CIC "the danger of a certain ecclesia-centred model" {37}. This danger can only be found out, if canon 786 is regarded isolated and not together with canon 787.

As much as evangelization aims at the holistic liberation of man, so little it excludes the specific aim to lead people to the acceptance of the Catholic faith. Logically the church legislator in a second step turns to this topic, and obligates the missionaries to impart the faith teachings "to people whom they judge ready to accept the message of the gospel in such a way that they - freely asking for it - can be admitted to receive baptism" (canon 787 § 1). That the here mentioned faith teachings not only mean the intellectual understanding but also includes the practice of the Christian life, is clarified in the two following regulations. They prescribe for the preparation of baptism the gradated integration in form of the catechumenate (canon 788) and after baptism a continuation of the instruction "to reach so a fuller knowledge of the truth of the gospel, and the fulfilment of the obligations taken over by baptism" (canon 789).


Decentralized Legal Structures as Requirement of Inculturation

Though the mission chapter of the CIC/1983 represents a successful summary and translation of the Council's mission theology into church law, nevertheless a deficit is to be pointed out that must not be underestimated in its effects: the lacking independence of the arising new churches with regard to a legislative authority of their own.

If in the mission areas not only European moulded local churches are to come into existence, but local churches that are really rooted in the respective culture, "then, of course, their formation must already take place as early as possible by men and women of that people, and must such a church not be handed over to them only when this formation has by Europeans already been steered into a quite definite paths and is almost completed" {38}.



Some problems of lacking inculturation could be avoided, if the growing up new churches were much earlier given a wider legislative authority. Perhaps then also questions of yesterday's and today's mission could be defused for the mission of tomorrow, as for example:

How can "Eucharist be celebrated in cultures where cereals are unknown, and where bread - due to its strangeness - causes the association of a 'magic object'? Which shape is baptism to have in a culture where the pouring out of water over a woman means to punish her with barrenness? Or how looks a Christian marriage in a culture where life represents the highest good, where missing descendants lead to polygamy and that is primarily expression of a protologic*-eschatological faith?" {39}
* protology - a term used almost exclusively within Catholic theology. It means the theological teachings about the origin, about the creation of the world and of man.

Such questions could certainly be more easily answered both with regard to culture and to faith, if there were an additional level of legislative authority between the local church and the church as a whole, for instance in the shape of the earlier patriarchate, or the level of the proper church (canones 27f.) as it is realized in the with the Catholic church united Orthodox churches {40}. For the present dual church structure of world- and local church harbours the permanent danger to put the "western Latin stamp" on the non-European churches in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and other churches {41}, instead of leaving to them the room to develop and live an authentic African, Asian and other Christianity, free from any western coinage {42}.

The triadic church structure of the east, with the intermediate level of the proper church, grants exactly this necessary legislative free space, so that in a certain cultural-uniform area - of course by keeping the fundamental unity - a theological, liturgical and legal inheritance of its own can unfold {43}. The proper church represents a union of several partial, respectively local churches that are connected with each other by the personal bond of the common liturgical, religious and disciplinary inheritance. Thus the church with legal authority of its own is a kind of local church family. Canon 27 CCEO names its characteristics: first, a certain community of faithful that secondly, is lead by a hierarchy that connects the faithful with each other. This hierarchy is normally made of several bishops among whom one has the primacy (= hierarchically structured body), but it can also have only one bishop. To these two internal elements a third formal element is added yet, namely the acknowledgment of this community as a church with legal authority of its own by the highest authority of the church (canones 42-54). This acknowledgment of the legislative authority is of central importance, for it stands as synonym for the autonomy of this partial church community - not in the sense of an absolute autonomy but always in acknowledgment of the Pope as the highest authority in the church.



The idea of the church of the east with legal authority of its own, to guarantee - by establishing a legislative authority of its own between the levels of the world- and local church - the authenticity of the cultures, has also already been pursued for the church as a whole. With the reform work of the church law following the Second Vatican Council the project of a church Basic Constitutional Law (Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis) was discussed for a long time. This Basic Law should - in the sense of general regulations - contain the common constitutional standards of the church, so that on this foundation a variety of culturally differently moulded Codices could - but had also to - be developed. But this project failed for different reasons {44}. This is much to be regretted, not only but particularly because of the missed chance for the mission to grant to the arising churches in time that measure of legal independence that is necessary, so that inculturation does not only remain an abstract ideal but can really succeed. All the more it is it is the dictates of the hour to let oneself be inspired by the law figure of the proper church, and to develop also for the missionary work of the church models of decentralized law structures.



{1} Cf. J. Schütte, Fragen der Mission an das Konzil, in: Mission nach dem Konzil, edited by the same (Mainz 1967) 9-20, 13f.

{2} Ch. Lienemann-Perrin, Mission u. interreligiöser Dialog (Göttingen 1999) 179f.

{3} Cf. M. Sievernich, Missionarisch Welt-Kirche sein. Konturen des heutigen Missionsverständnisses, in: zur debatte Nr. 7 (2004) 21f., 21.

{4} Cf. to the following A. Feldtkeller, Mission aus der Perspektive der Religionswissenschaft, in: ZMR 85 (2001) 99-115, 101-104; 111; the same: Mission und Religionsfreiheit, in: Zeitschrift für Mission 28 (2002) 261-275, 267f., 271f.

{5} Feldtkeller, Mission aus der Perspektive (A. 4) 106.

{6} O. Stoffel, die Missionstätigkeit der Kirche im neunen Kirchenrecht, in: NZM 39 (1983) 178-187, 178.

{7} Y. Congar, Theologische Grundlegung (Nr. 2-9), in: Mission nach dem Konzil (A. 1)134-172, 147.

{8} Ch. Müller, das Dekret über die Missionstätigkeit der Kirche Ad gentes, in : Vierzig Jahre II. Vatikanum. Zur Wirkungsgeschichte der Konzilstexte, edited by V. F. X. Bischof and St. Leimgruber (Würzburg ²2005) 316-333, 323.

{9} in the same place 325.

{10} Cf. P. Hünermann, Theologischer Kommentar zum Dekret über die Missionstätigkeit der Kirche Ad gentes, in: Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil, edited by the same and B. J. Hilberath, volume 4 (Freiburg 2005) 219-336, 315, with the characteristic historical reference that just "the large mission works in the nineteenth century were initiated by laymen, and were acknowledged and approved only thereafter by the bishops. They were groups of men and women who, seized by the spirit of Christ's mission, formed the missionary institutes and communities."

{11} Müller (A. 8) 325.

{12} in the same place 325.



{13} Cf. in the same place 321.

{14} The term "inculturation" is for the first time officially used in the final document of the Bishops' Synod 1977 "Ad populum Dei nuntius" (article 5) and then used by Pope John Paul II in "Catechesi Tradendae" and in "Redemptoris Missio"; see G. Collet, "... bis an die Grenzen der Erde". Grundfragen heutiger Missionswissenschaft (Freiburg 2002) 174.

{15} Schütte (A. 1) 15.

{16} Cf. AG, 9,2: "For that reason all the good things that can be found sown into the human heart and spirit, into the rites and cultures of the peoples will not only not perish but will be healed, heightened and perfected for God's glory, the blessedness of the people and the shame of the demon. Thus the missionary activity aims at eschatological abundance."

{17} J. Ratzinger, Konzilsaussagen über die Mission außerhalb des Missionsdekrets, in: Mission nach dem Konzil (A. 1) 21-47, 45.

{18} Cf. in the same place 45.

{19} in the same place

{20} Cf. Müller (A. 8) 327f., with references to AG 22; 25f.; 40.

{21} Cf. V. Mosca, Per un diritto particolare missionario secondo la legislazione universale della chiesa, in: Euntes docete 54/3 (2001) 73-98, 91.

{22} Sievernich (A. 3) 22, with reference to the encyclical letter Redemptoris Missio Nr. 52.

{23} Hünermann (A. 10) 264; cf. in the same place 325-328.

{24} Feldtkeller, Mission u. Religionsfreiheit (A. 4) 261.

{25} Lienemann-Perrin (A. 2) 177.

{26} Cf. in the same place 176-178; Ratzinger (A. 17) 45.

{27} Cf. Hünermann (A. 10) 271; 324.

{28} in the same place 293.

{29} Cf. to this also canon 225 CIC, which explicitly assigns laymen the obligation and the right "to help as individuals or in associations that the divine message of salvation is recognized and accepted by all human beings all over the world."

{30} Cf. Congar (A. 7) 157.

{31} in the same place 158; cf. Ratzinger (A. 17) 32.

{32} Cf. Congar (A. 7) 155f.; Stoffel (A. 6) 187.

{33} Cf. Congar (A. 7) 151.

{34} D. Salachas, L'azione missionaria nella legislazione della chiesa, in: Euntes Docete 54/3 (2001) 7-71, 24.

{35} Cf. Stoffel (A. 6) 188.

{36} Cf. similarly Collet (A. 14) 244, whose remarks however refer not to the CIC, but (only) generally to "mission as testimony": "Against a colonialist, paternalistic and propagandistic form of faith communication the testimony is set... For the testimony fully respects the otherness of the other person and in doing that by no means does without its own conviction grown from experience, but brings itself in respecting the freedom of the others and its own history. ... Testifying acknowledges the self-determination and personal responsibility of the other person. It sets on his/her ability to recognize and to say 'Yes' to the truth. ... Testifying presupposes majority and must respect it."

{37} Stoffel (A. 6) 189.

{38} K. Rahner, Grundprinzipien zur heutigen Mission der Kirche, in: Handbuch der Pastoraltheologie, volume II/2, edited by the same and F. Arnold (Freiburg 1971) 46-80, 78.

{39} Collet (A. 14) 172. With regard to the Eucharist symbols see also F. Nikolasch, Brot, in: LThK³, volume 2, 703f., 704: "In the context of intensified efforts for inculturation recently the question is being asked whether bread can be understood in the sense of "basic food" (see Joh 6.22-59) and therefore the matter of the Eucharist must not necessarily be wheat bread."

{40} The CCEO knows the following forms of the church with legal authority of its own: the patriarchate church (canones 55-150), the extended archiepiscopal church (canones 151-154), the proper metropolitan church (canones 155-173) and "other" proper churches (canones 174-176).

{41} O. Stoffel, Missionsstrukturen im Wandel, in: Ansätze eines neuen Missionsrechtes, in: NZM 31 (1975) 259-270, 269; cf. Mosca (A. 21) 90 u. 92f.; similarly also Rahner (A. 38) 78f.

{42} Cf. Collet (A. 14) 173.

{43} Cf. dazu S. Demel, Mitmachen - Mitreden - Mitbestimmen. Grundlagen, Möglichkeiten u. Grenzen in der katholischen Kirche (Regensburg 2001) 149-151.

{44} Cf. Stoffel (A. 41) 269. About the failure of the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis see W. Aymans, the project of a Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis, in: Grundriß des nachkonziliaren Kirchenrechts, edited by J. Listl, H. Müller and H. Schmitz (Regensburg 1980) 39-51, especially 43-51.


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