Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
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100 years after ‘Maximum Illud’: Mission in the Catholic Magisterium
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To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the apostolic letter Maximum Illud, Pope Francis declared October 2019 as an Extraordinary Month of Mission. This gives us cause to review the missiological journey that the Catholic Church has made from the promulgation of Maximum Illud in 1919 to the promulgation of Evangelii Gaudium in 2013, an apostolic exhortation on the missionary activity of the Church in our times.

The methodology used in this paper is to present briefly the contents of the documents chosen, bearing in mind the context in which they were written, discovering the changes, and thereby the development of the reflections of the Magisterium on Catholic mission.

With the apostolic letter Maximum Illud, which carries the date of November 30, 1919, specifying in the subtitle that it focuses on “ the activities undertaken by missionaries in the world,” Pope Benedict XV touched upon themes that were not dealt with before by previous popes and which laid guiding principles for subsequent missionary documents. This document was rightly called the Magna Carta of modern missions. After the First World War and aware of the destruction that conflict had brought, Pope Benedict XV’s apostolic letter appears as an enthusiastic contribution within the then contemporary worldview and theology.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2021