Fidei donum

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

With the mission encyclical Fidei Donum of April 21, 1957, Pope Pius XII. to send priests to Africa, Asia and South America to remedy the shortage of priests there. "Fidei Donum" is Latin and means "gift of faith".

A formative experience for the encyclical was the tradition of the Belgian, especially the Flemish dioceses, to send diocesan priests on missions to Latin America. For their training, the Collegium Pro America Latina Leuven (COPAL) at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven was founded in 1953 on the initiative of Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey .

The release of priests for mission

In the encyclical called Pope Pius XII. the European bishops to help their colleagues there in view of the great shortage of priests in the Third World. He particularly asked the diocesan bishops to release some of their priests for temporary work in the churches of Africa. With this he set an example for the responsibility of the dioceses and local churches. At the same time he made her responsible for helping to shape the mission work and to pray for her success. He mentioned that they would make a valuable contribution to the growth of communities in need.

Provision of diocese priests

As a result of this encyclical, members of spiritual communities based in Germany, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Western Australia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe are missionary for a longer period of time (usually at least three years) were. Later, the “ Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples ” laid down in its “Instructions” the sending and length of stay of priests of the diocesan clergy.

Fidei Donum priest

The Fidei Donum priests later emerged from the requirements of the encyclical. The so-called FiDoPs are diocesan priests with a temporary contract for missionary work. Indeed, since the second half of the 20th century, the special kind of missionary cooperation between the churches through the so-called Fidei Donum priests has achieved its full validity.

Mutual exchange

The encyclical is also significant because of its - cautious - departure from the Eurocentric view of the Church that was customary at the time. Pope Pius XII referring to his Christmas address in 1945, represents the "once" (Latin: olim), when church life "developed its strength mainly in the old countries of Europe and from there flowed those coasts that could be called the periphery of the world" “Today” (Latin: nunc), in which there is “an interaction of life and power” between all parts of the church.

Text output

Latin text

  • Acta Apostolicae Sedis XLIX (1957), pp. 225-248.
  • Josef Glazik (ed.): Litterae encyclicae de missionibus. A Leone XIII usque ad Joannem XXIII . Vier-Türme-Verlag, Münsterschwarzach 1961.

German translations

  • Herder Korrespondenz 11 (1956/57), pp. 474-480.
  • Josef Glazik (ed.): Papal circulars on the mission of Leo XIII. until John XXIII. (= Mission Studies Seminar of the University of Würzburg, Mission Texts 1) Vier-Türme-Verlag, Münsterschwarzach 1961.


  • Carl Andresen , Georg Denzler : dtv - dictionary of church history . Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich, May 1982, ISBN 3-423-03245-6 .
  • Rudolf Fischer-Wolpert: Do you know? - Lexicon of religious and ideological questions . Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg, 3rd expanded edition 1982, ISBN 3-7917-0738-8 .
  • Paolo Mietto: Los Sacerdotes Fidei Donum en la Época de la globalización, de la interdependencia y de la universalización . In: CELAM (ed.): El Presbítero, discípulo y misionero de Jesucristo, en América Latina y El Caribe . CELAM, Bogotá 2007 (Colección Quinta Conferencia: Análisis, Vol. 6), pp. 301-312.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Latin America. Journal of the Friends of Latin America. Quarterly information magazine of the Latin America College , Leuven, vol. 43 (1998), No. 3, p. 46.
  3. Klaus Piepel: learning community universal Church. Learning processes in partnerships between First and Third World Christians . Misereor, Aachen 1993, ISBN 3-88916-110-3 , pp. 132-133.
  4. Fidei donum , No. 36.