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Vatican cardinal calls for return of ‘missionary boldness’

October 02, 2012

Recalling the example of nineteenth-century missionaries to Tibet whose “zeal and boldness” had to be restrained by their superiors, the prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples called upon missionaries to be “men of faith tempered by character, animated by an ardent apostolic zeal and enthusiastic about their mission.”

“These pioneers of God lived boldness, adventure, faith, passion in an absolutely unique way,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni in an address at the Paris Foreign Missions Society. “From the ethical point of view, one cannot ignore that martyrdom and the heroic witness of so many missionaries were the fruits of this ‘impossible’ mission carried out by men in whom the Gospel had kidnapped heart, spirit, and body.”

The decline of missionary vocations from the West “makes me think, right now, of a historic depletion of this boldness, but at the same time, the emergence of new forms of missionary presence linked, for example, to laity more aware of their missionary role, with a wide awareness of young people, families, professionals, and why not, old people willing to give a few years of their lives as missionaries,” he added.


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