Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
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 (Sacra Congregatio de 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- remains, after
promotion to diocese of (Metropolitan) Archdiocese, under the
Propaganda Fide instead of the normally competent Congregation for the
Bishops, notably in countries/regions w<here 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
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.
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.
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
Rome were involved in
the development of the architectural complex; the sculptor and
Gianlorenzo Bernini and the architect Francesco Borromini.
The current Prefect of the Congregation is Cardinal Fernando Filoni.
The current Secretary is
Archbishop Protase Rugambwa. The current
Secretary (and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies) is
Archbishop Giampietro Del Toso The Under-Secretary is Father
Ryszard Szmydki, O.M.I. The
Archivist of the Archives of the
Congregation is Bishop Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos. Monsignors Lorenzo
Piva and Camillus Nimalan Johnpillai assist as Office Heads of the
3.3 Adjunct Secretaries
3.5 Delegate of the Administration
4 See also
6 External links
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,
Protestant countries intent on spreading these religious
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
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
1705, moving between Macau and Canton before finally settling in Hong
Kong in 1842.
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.
These "Cardinals in General Congregation" met weekly, keeping their
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.
The Congregation was originally housed in a small palace, the Palazzo
Ferratini, donated by the Spanish priest Vives, at the southern end of
the Piazza di Spagna. The architectural complex of the Propoaganda
Fide was developed in the triangular urban block between the Via Due
Macelli and the Via del Collegio di Propaganda Fide, two streets which
diverged from the piazza.
The headquarters of the Propaganda fide in Rome, North facade on
Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna by architect Bernini, the southwest facade seen here
by Borromini: etching by Giuseppe Vasi, 1761.
In 1634 a small oval chapel was built according to designs by Bernini.
In 1642, Father Valerio, with Bernini, redesigned the façade to the
Piazza di Spagna, and the development was continued along the Via Due
Macelli by Gaspare de’Vecchio from 1639-1645.
In 1648, Borromini took over and made various proposals that included
demolishing Bernini’s chapel, which must have been particularly
galling for the latter as he could see the building from his house on
Via Mercede. Initially Borromini designed an elongated oval chapel
plan but this was superseded by a rectilinear design, with the greater
length parallel to the street, and with curved corners on the
interior. Construction of the chapel commenced in 1660 and although
the main part was built by 1665, some of the decoration was carried
out after his death. The Re Magi chapel, dedicated to the Three
Kings, has a plan with four side chapels and galleries above. On the
interior, the wall and the vault are differentiated horizontally by a
cornice line but there is a vertical continuity of wall and vault
which allows for windows at the base of the vault. The wall pilasters
are continued in the vault as ribs that criss-cross and unite the
space, unlike his design at the Oratory of Philip Neri Oratorio dei
Filippini where the ribs are interrupted by the oval fresco at the
centre of the vault. The criss cross arrangement in the Re Magi Chapel
is such that an octagon is formed at the centre, embellished with a
Dove of the Holy Spirit bathed in golden rays.
His first designs for the façade onto the Via di Propaganda Fide had
five bays but he expanded this to seven. The façade is dominated by
the giant pilasters that originally supported a balustrade above the
narrow entablature but later extensions obliterated the balustrade.
The central bay of the façade is a concave curve with angled pies at
its edges, perhaps in recognition that this façade would always be
seen at an oblique angle because of the narrowness of the street. The
central door leads into the courtyard where Borromini intended a
curved arcade but this was not built. Only the left hand side of
the façade relates to the chapel and the right to the stair and
entrance to the College.
Other parts of the College have further minor works by Borromini.
Antonio Maria Sauli
Antonio Maria Sauli (1622)
Ludovico Ludovisi (1622–1632)
Antonio Barberini (1632–1645)
Luigi Capponi (1645–1649) (while Barberini was in exile during the
pontificate of Innocent X)
Antonio Barberini (1649–1671)
Paluzzo Paluzzi Altieri degli Albertoni
Paluzzo Paluzzi Altieri degli Albertoni (1671–1698)
Carlo Barberini (1698–1704)
Giuseppe Sacripanti (1704–1727)
Vincenzo Petra (1727–1747)
Silvio Valenti Gonzaga
Silvio Valenti Gonzaga (1747–1756)
Giuseppe Spinelli (1756–1763)
Giuseppe Maria Castelli (1763–1780)
Leonardo Antonelli (1780–1795)
Giacinto Sigismondo Gerdil
Giacinto Sigismondo Gerdil (1795–1802)
Stefano Borgia (pro-prefect 1798-1800, prefect 1802-1804)
Antonio Dugnani (1804–1805)
Michele di Pietro (1805–1814)
Lorenzo Litta (1814–1818)
Francesco Luigi Fontana (1818–1822)
Ercole Consalvi (pro-prefect 1822–1824, prefect 1824)
Giulio Maria della Somaglia
Giulio Maria della Somaglia (pro-prefect 1824–1826)
Mauro Capellari (1826–1831) (elected as Pope Gregory XVI)
Carlo Maria Pedicini (1831–1834)
Giacomo Filippo Fransoni (1834–1856)
Alessandro Barnabò (1856–1874)
Alessandro Franchi (1874–1878)
Giovanni Simeoni (1878–1892)
Mieczysław Halka Ledóchowski
Mieczysław Halka Ledóchowski (1892–1902)
Girolamo Maria Gotti (1902–1916)
Domenico Serafini (pro-prefect 1916, prefect 1916–1918)
Willem van Rossum
Willem van Rossum (1918–1932)
Pietro Fumasoni Biondi
Pietro Fumasoni Biondi (1933–1960)
Samuel Stritch (pro-prefect 1958)
Gregorio Pietro Agagianian
Gregorio Pietro Agagianian (pro-prefect 1958–1960, prefect
Agnelo Rossi (1970–1984)
Dermot J. Ryan
Dermot J. Ryan (pro-prefect 1984–1985)
Jozef Tomko (pro-prefect 1985, prefect 1985–2001)
Crescenzio Sepe (2001–2006)
Ivan Dias (2006–2011)
Fernando Filoni (2011– )
The secretary assists the cardinal-prefect in the day-to-day running
of the congregation and is always an archbishop. They usually go on to
hold a position in the
Roman Curia that brings them membership to the
College of Cardinals.
Bernardin Gantin (26 February 1973 – 19 December 1975)
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy (19 December 1975 – 30 October 1985)
José Tomás Sánchez
José Tomás Sánchez (30 October 1985 – 21 June 1991)
Giuseppe Uhac (21 June 1991 – 18 January 1998)
Marcello Zago, O.M.I. (28 March 1998 – 1 March 2001)
Robert Sarah (1 October 2001 – 7 October 2010)
Savio Hon Tai-Fai (29 December 2010 – 28 September 2017)
Protase Rugambwa (9 November 2017 – )
The adjunct secretary, when one is appointed, is concurrently
President of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don (1 October 2001 – 2005.12.10)
Henryk Hoser, S.A.C. (22 January 2005 – 24 May 2008)
Piergiuseppe Vacchelli (24 May 2008 – 26 June 2012)
Giampietro Del Toso (9 November 2017 - )
Charles Asa Schleck (1995 – 2000)
Delegate of the Administration
Msgr. Angelo Mottola (Italy; later Archbishop) (1986 – 1999.07.16)
Vatican City portal
Protectorate of missions
^ "Profile". THE CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES.
Vatican. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ Dulles, Avery Cardinal (2009). Evangelization for the Third
Millennium. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. p. 14.
^ "Vatican office for evangelization of peoples gets a new
undersecretary". Catholic News Agency. 2017-09-28. Retrieved
- Translator". www.microsofttranslator.com. Retrieved
^ "First woman appointed to a Vatican congregation joyful :: EWTN
News". www.ewtnnews.com. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
^ Collegio di Propaganda Fide
^ Blunt, A. Guide to
Baroque Rome, Granada, 1982, 246
^ Blunt, 1982, 166
^ Magnuson, T.
Rome in the Age of Bernini, Vol 2, 206-7
^ Blunt, 1979, 246
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
Official Propaganda Fide website
Notre Dame University site gives history of the Propaganda Fide, with
details of its organization
the Collegio di Propaganda Fide: photos and history
Satellite Photo. The Collegio is the large rhomboidal block buildings
that lie just south of the Spanish steps (narrow tip and Bernini
facade facing northeast to Piazza di Spagna).
Umberto Benigni (1913). "Sacred Congregation of Propaganda". In
Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton