Missionary work is not humanitarianism or proselytism, Pope tells Italian missionaries
May 12, 2023
» Continue to this story on Vatican Press Office
CWN Editor's Note: On May 11, Pope Francis addressed members of the Conference of Missionary Institutes in Italy.
The early Christians drew “inspiration and vigor” from “the witness of life, the preaching of the Word, catechesis and the celebration of the Sacraments,” Pope Francis said. “Let this also be your style. It is not a matter of proselytizing, this is not Christian, no; the style is this: proclaim Christ first of all with the testimony of life.”
“And the Church is not interested in providing welfare: helping, yes, but first of all, evangelizing, bearing witness: if you give assistance, let it come from witnessing, not from proselytizing methods,” he added.
(In a 2007 doctrinal note, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that “the term proselytism was often used as a synonym for missionary activity. More recently, however, the term has taken on a negative connotation, to mean the promotion of a religion by using means, and for motives, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel; that is, which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person.”)
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