Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/225

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AFRICAN
AFRICAN
191

RÉSUMÉ OF DIOCESES AND MISSIONS IN 1906

Clergy Dioceses Vicariates Apostolic Prefectures Prelatures Total
Secular Clergy 17 1 1 1 20
1. Fathers of the Holy Ghost (Paris) 8 7 4 missions 19
2. White Fathers (of Algiers) 7 1 8
3. African Missions (Lyons) 3 4 7
4. Oblates of Mary (Rome) 2 3 5
5. Franciscans (Rome) 1 2 3
6. Capuchins (Rome) 1 1 1 3
7. Jesuits (Rome) 1 2 missions 3
8. Lazarists (Paris) 1 2 missions 3
9. Sons of the Sacred Heart (Verona) 1 1
10. Fathers of the Heart of Mary (Scheut-lez-Bruxelles) 1 1 2
11. Fathers of the Divine Word (Steyl) 1 1
12. Seminary of Mill Hill (London) 1 1
13. Premonstrants (Tongerloo, Belgium) 1 1
14. Oblates of St. Francis of Sales (Troyes) 1 1
15. Priests of the Seminary of St. Quentin (Rome) 1 1
16. Pallotine Missionaries (Rome) 1 1
17. Missionaries of the Consolata (Turin) 1 mission 1
18. Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Barcelona) 1 1
19. Trinitarians 1 1
20. Bavarian Benedictines 1 1
21. Company of Mary (Blessed de Montfort) 1 1
18 32 26 8 84


To these Societies of missionary priests must be added a number of congregations of missionary brothers and sisters. (See also names of Princes, Sees, Vicariates Apostolic, etc.)

Brown, The Story of Africa and its Explorers (London, 1894); Cust, Africa rediviva (London, 1891); Keltie, The Partition of Africa (London, 1895); E. Reclus, Nouvelle géographie universelle—Afrique (Paris, 1885–88, tr. by Keane, New York; 1893); Vivien de St. Martin et Rousselet, Dict. de geographie universelle, et Supplement (Paris, 1879–97); Le Roy, Les Pygmées (Tours, 1905); Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa (London, 1904); Piolet, Les missions catholiques françaises (Paris, 1902); Bonnet-maury, L'Islamisme et le Christianisme en Afrique, (Paris, 1906); Piolet, Questions d'Angleterre (Paris, 1906); Werner et Groffier, Atlas des Missions catholiques (Lyons, 1886); Hansen, Missionskarte von Afrika (Steyl, 1903). Consult especially the official list of Catholic missions, published in Rome about every three years: Missiones catholicæ curâ S. C. de Propagandâ Fide descriptæ.

African Church, Early.—The name, Early African Church, is given to the Christian communities inhabiting the region known politically as Roman Africa, and comprised geographically within the following limits, namely: the Mediterranean littoral between Cyrenaica on the east and the river Ampsaga (now the Rummel) on the west; that part of it which faces the Atlantic Ocean being called Mauretania. These Christian communities, apparently, extended only as far as the neighbourhood of Tangiers (Tangi). The evangelization of Africa followed much the same lines as those traced by Roman civilization. Starting from Carthage, it overran Proconsular Africa and Numidia, and grew less thorough as it drew near to Mauretania.

History.—The delimitation of the ecclesiastical boundaries of the African Church is a matter of great difficulty. Again and again the Roman political authority rearranged the provincial divisions, and on various occasions the ecclesiastical authorities conformed the limits of their respective jurisdictions to those of the civil power. These limits, however, were not only liable to successive rectification, but in some cases they were not even clearly marked. Parts of Mauretania always remained independent; the mountainous region to the west of the Aure (Middle Atlas), and the plateau above the Tell never became Roman. The high lands of the Sahara and all the country west of the Atlas range were inhabited by the nomad tribes of the Getuli, and there are neither churches nor definite ecclesiastical organizations to be found there. Christianity filtered in, so to speak, little by little. Bishoprics were founded among the converts, as the need for them arose; were moved, possibly, from place to place, and disappeared, without leaving a trace of their existence. The historical period of the African Church begins in 180 with groups of martyrs. At a somewhat later date the writings of Tertullian tell us how rapidly African Christianity had grown. It had passed the Roman military lines, and spread among the peoples to the south and southeast of the Aure. About the year 200 there was a violent persecution at Carthage and in the provinces held by the Romans. We gain information as to its various phases from the martyrdom of St. Perpetua and the treatises of Tertullian. Christianity, however, did not even then cease to make distant conquests; Christian epitaphs are to be found at Aumale, dated 227, and at Tipasa, dated 238. These dates are assured. If we rely on texts less definite, yet of great value, we may admit that the evangelization of Northern Africa began very early. By the opening of the third century there was a large Christian population in the towns and even in the country districts, which included not only the poor, but also persons of the highest rank. A council held at Carthage about the year 220 was attended by eighteen bishops from the province of Numidia. Another council, held in the time of St. Cyprian, about the middle of the third century, was attended by eighty-seven bishops. At this period the African Church went through a very grave crisis. The long peace had caused the faithful to relax the virtues needed in times of persecution. The Emperor Decius published an edict, the effect of which was to make many martyrs and confessors, and not a few apostates. A certain bishop, followed by his whole community, was to be seen sacrificing to the gods. The apostates (see Lapsi) and the timid who had bought a certificate of apostasy for money (see {{CE lksc|Libellatici||) became so numerous as to fancy that they could lay down the law to the Church, and demand their restoration to ecclesiastical communion, a state of affairs which gave rise to controversies and deplorable troubles. Yet the Church of Africa had martyrs, even at such a time. The names of St. Cyprian of Carthage, of the martyrs of Massa Candida, of Theogenes of Hippo, Agapius and Secundus at Cirta, of James, Marianus, and others; of Lucian, Montanus, and their companions, showed that there were still brave and sincere Christians to be found in her fold. The persecutions at the end of the third, and at the beginning of the fourth, century did not only make martyrs; they also gave rise to a heresy which claimed that Christians could deliver the sacred books and the archives of the Church to the officers of the State, without lapsing from the faith. (See Traditores.)

The accession of Constantine found the African Church rent by controversies and heresies; Catholics and Donatists contended not only in wordy warfare, but also in a violent and sanguinary way. A law of Constantine (318) deprived the Donatists of their churches, most of which they had taken from the Catholics. They had, however, grown so powerful that even such a measure failed to crush them; so numerous were they that a Donatist Council, held at Carthage, in 327, was attended by 270 bishops. Attempts at reconciliation, suggested by the Em-