Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/427

This page needs to be proofread.




Wbeeier (in charge). Rept. upon U. S. Geographical Surveys etc., VII, Archaology (California Indian papers by Gatschet (languages), Henshaw (.Voyage of Cabrillo) and Yarrow], (Wasliington, 1S79); Rotce and Thomas, Indian Land Ces- sions in Eighteenth Rcpt. (part 2) Bur. Am. Ethnology (Wash- ington, 1S99).

James Moonet.

Missions, Catholic— The history of Catholic missions would necessarily begin with the missionary labours of Clirist, and woultl cover a very consitler- able portion of the history of the Catholic Church. The principal chapters of this history will be found elsewhere in The Catholic Encyclopedia, in the articles devoted to the various countries, provinces, dioceses, vicariates, religious orders, and congrega- tions, notable missionaries, etc. The present article will be confined to a short general survey of the missionary activity of the Catholic Church at the present day. The subject, as thus limited, may con- veniently be considered under the following heads: I. Organization of Catholic Missions; II. Receipts and Expenditure; III. Utihty and Object of Mission Statistics; IV. Statistics.

I. Org.^nization. — The main direction of the Catholic missions is vested in the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda under the supreme jurisdiction of which stand most of the missions of the Catholic world (see Propag.ynda, Congregation op). This congrega- tion determines the ecclesiastical rank of each mission (prefecture, vicariate, diocese), assigning to it a su- perior according to this rank, and undertakes the (.luty of supplying missionaries wherever their services are necessary. For the training of Catholic mission- aries numerous secular seminaries have been in- stituted; the important are; the Urban (so called after its founder. Urban VIII), English, Irish, Scotch, American, and Canadian Colleges at Rome; Pontifical Seminary of Kantly; Leonine Seminary of Athens; the seminaries at Milan, Lyons, and Paris (this last is the headquarters of the famous Society of Foreign Missions) ; Josephinum College, Columbus, Ohio, U. S. A.; American College, Louvain; English Colleges at Valladolid and Ijisbon ; Scotch College at Valladolid; Irish College, Paris; All Hallows, Duljlin; St. Joseph's Seminary, Mill Hill, London; St. Joseph's, Rozend.ial, Holland; St. Joseph's, Brixin, Tyrol; General College of Pulo Pinang. The religious orders — Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians, etc. — which continue with unabated zeal to labour for the propagation of the Gospel, are assisted by a series of new orders and congregations. It will be sufficient to cite here the names of the societies widely engaged in foreign missions, and to refer the reader to the special articles for par- ticulars: Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Heart of Mary; Congregation of the Mis- sion (Lazarists); Oblates of Mary Immaculate; Society of Mary; Oratorians and Oblates of St. Francis de Sales; Redemptorists; Paulists; Congrega- tion of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; Priests of the Foreign Missions (Missions Etrangeres). For a fuller list see "Missiones Catholicre", 8.5.3-S. Among the colleges of the regular orders specially devoted to the training of missionaries may be men- tioned: the College of St. Fidelis (Capuchin), College of St. Anthony (Franciscan), College of St. Isidore (Irish Franciscan), and the College of the Irish Augustinians, at Rome; Seminary of Scheuf, near Brussels (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary); the colleges of the Society of African Mis- sionaries (White Fathers) ; the Veronese Institute and the colleges of the Society of the Divine Word.

II. Receipts and Expenditpre. — Of late years the support formerly lent by various European .states to missionary enterprises has been considerably dim- inished, and the missions are to-day largely dependent for their support- on the voluntary contributions of the faithful. For the collection of tliese offerings mission-

ary societies have been founded in the different Catholic countries. The most important of these societies are: the Society of Foreign Missions (Mis- sions Etrangeres), founded at Paris, 1820; Society for the Propagation of the P^aith, foimded at Lyons, 1822; Leopoldinische Stiftung, founded at Vienna, 1829; Bavarian Ludwig-Missionsverein (1839); So- ciety of the Holy Childhood (Paris, 1843) ; Society of the Holy Land (1895). To arrive at even an approximate estimate of the total sum contributed by Catholics towards their foreign missions is im- possible. To regard the sums collected by a few of the leading missionary societies as the total Catholic contribution towards the missions, and to take such total as indicative of Catholic interest in the propaga- tion of the Gospel (as is too commonly done to-day by some controversialists), is manifestly indefensible. Not only are no statistics of receipts available for many of the missionary societies, but no estimate can be made of the great smns expended by all the reli- gious orders and congregations (which are in turn practically dependent on voluntary contributions) on the preparation of their members for missionary labours and on the missions themselves.

Again, the numberless contributions made directly to the missions, offerings given to non-missionary or- ders or secular priests to be forwardetl to the heads of certain missions, legacies and similar gifts, never ap- pear in the statistics of receipts furnished liy the collecting societies. So important a portion of the total amount do these contributions form that Baum- garten ("Die kathol. Kircht u. ihre Diener in Wort u. Bild", III, Munich, 1903, p. 399) declares that we must multiply the sum collected by the missionary societies by four or five to arrive approximately at the sum contributed towards Catholic missions. Those who contrast the apparent totals of the sums contributed by Catholics and Protestants towards their respective missions thus fail to take into account all the data for the comparison. Krose (op. cit. in bibliography, p. 3S) quotes the case of two similarly situated states of about the same size. Catholic Belgium and Protes- tant Holland, whose respective contributions towards foreign missions were 1,019,474 (only the sum col- lected by a few of the leading missionary societies) and 701,000 francs. The same writer points out (loc. cit.) that, even accepting the known Catholic contributions as the total, and accepting the Protes- tant total at the figure given by their own statisticians, the German Catholics contributed 15 pfennig per cap- ita towards their missions, and the German Protest- tants 12 pfennig, although the latter are, as a class, the wealthier. This last circumstance, indeed, merits special attention, if we would not accept a single large donation of a millionaire as indicative of more wide- spread missionary zeal than a thousand humtile sub- scriptions of the poor. The astonishing .success of the Catholic missions during the nineteenth century, al- though most of the property of the missionary or- ders was confiscated or secularized, was entirely due to the extraordinary zeal and self-sacrifice of the Catholic missionaries in the face of innumerable difficulties. Regular contrilxitions to the missionary societies and the centralization of the missions fund are highly desirable: men are, as a rule, ready to subscribe freely to conspicuously successful missions, while the less prosperous, in which the missionaries have to face perhaps greater obstacles and disappoint- ments, receive but faint support.

III. IItility and Ohject of Mission Statistics. — Scientifically compiled statistics render self-decep- tion impossible, preventing us from being unduly elated orclisheartened by isolated successes or reverses. They tend, also, to lessen the heated controversies which, unfortimately, too frequently centre around the Chri.s- tian missions. The duty of supplying the public with accurate and complete statistics rests with the mission-