Propaganda (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith)

See also Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

PROPAGANDA (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of theaith). The organization responsible for the direction and administration of Roman Catholic missionary activity. It was created in 1622 by Gregory XV to combat the lack of unity in missionary endeavors among the various religious orders and to weaken the firm control that Spain and Portugal exercised over missionary enterprises through the right of patronage. Under its first secretary, Francesco Ingoli, Propaganda gathered a wealth of data on missionary activities and, from this, formulated basic principles to govern later work. It laid down standards for the training of missionaries and founded a seminary (Collegium Urbanum), promoted the development of an indigenous clergy, and urged the preservation of the cultural traits of non-Western peoples. The Chinese Rites Controversy,* however, severely limited the extension of the principle of cultural adaption in mission work. It set up a press in 1626 and by 1800 was printing material in forty-four African and Asian languages. Propaganda had been given supreme and exclusive authority in every mission region, but this was substantially limited by Pius X in 1908. In recent years the congregation has done much to bring about the creation of indigenous hierarchies in mission lands.

See R.H.S. Song, The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (1961).