Saturday, May 10, 2014

AD GENTES?


One of the questions we have asked here on this blog is why is Archbishop Apuron taking seminarians from other countries and bringing them to our island under the guise of "ad gentes" and of Guam being a "mission" when we are already 400 years along in Catholicism. 


It appears that the former Prefect for the CONGREGATION FOR THE EVANGELISATION OF PEOPLES, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, has asked the same thing in:

 COMMENTS BY CARDINAL JOZEF TOMKO 
ON THE SENDING ABROAD AND SOJOURN
OF DIOCESAN PRIESTS
FROM MISSION TERRITORIES

Many of them long to come to the West and stay there for long periods or definitively, prompted by motives that are not truly missionary, such as better living conditions or good economic situations. On the other hand, the Western Churches are currently suffering a certain vocations crisis and gladly have recourse to the easy solution of staffing their parishes with African, Asian or Latin American priests, heedless of the possible harm this can cause to the mission ad gentes and to the frail young communities. 
Many mission dioceses cannot give up their own priests because they represent the forces indispensable for their survival and the continuation of evangelization, also damaged by the decreasing numbers of Western missionaries. Thus the Churches of ancient foundation, on the one hand, no longer offer the help they once offered missionaries and, on the other, deprive mission territories of their own local priests who should be carrying on the work of evangelization. 
Some dioceses in Africa and Asia have a third or even half of their diocesan clergy in other countries, for financial reasons. I know of one that has 83 priests abroad, while within the country evangelization is stagnating. In Italy there are 1,800 foreign priests, of whom 800 are involved full time in direct pastoral work. With such a number of diocesan priests many new dioceses could be created in mission lands! Can Italy consider itself a "mission territory" to this extent, with the same number of priests per faithful and per population as in Africa and Asia?

Note: Guam already has more priests per capita than any other diocese in the United States. 



The current Prefect for this Congregation, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, has also said the same thing in a recent address:
Cardinal Fernando Filoni told the Societies’ leaders that it is “unfair” that up to half the priests in some African and Asian dioceses now serve in the West, “where they believe they find better pastoral conditions.” These priests’ native dioceses, he said, are “still short of personnel” and thus are “deprived of significant apostolic forces absolutely indispensable for Christian life.”
But to answer the initial question...we know why. 

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