English Summary – Missions 3–4/2010

Karl Cardinal Lehmann
Turning towards the Life for All Origins and Scope of Basic Missionary Dimension of Christian Faith

The introductory text of Cardinal Lehmann opposes to those who consider the Christian mission to be only a sort of a last resort, given by the fact of non-acceptance of Christ solely by the Jews. Lehmann depicts against this idea that since the beginnings the mission is an integral part of Christ’s message. The disciples chosen by Jesus were endued by his power already during his action to give them chance to take part in this very same mission of his. Missionary service within the meaning of preaching of the good news is justified by Christ’s own mission and power. An assignment of the mission to disciples entails participation on his power and serves to spreading of salvation. Mission therefore cannot be interpreted only by virtue of the resurrection, but by the whole life of Christ as well. Mission is closely linked to the very understanding of the Church, as the bearers of the mission are all the faithful.

Albert-Peter Rethmann
The Proclamation of the Gospel as a Dialogue
Christian Concept of Mission in a Pluralistic Society

The essay of the director of The Institute for Global Church and Mission in Frankfurt am Main harks back to a crisis of the notion of mission, given among others by its historic links with the violent colonization. Declaration of the Vatican II on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae, however, advocates the freedom in reception of faith. Christian faith, therefore, must first enter into a genuine dialogue with the culture, in which is to be proclaimed, to enable a free acceptance. Rethmann starts from an analysis of the notion of inculturation, and shows the parallels with the very incarnation of Christ. For Christian theology counts: The real Christian faith is not to destroy any human culture. It would rather tend to receive elements of the lived culture and in the same time to co-determinate this living culture in a decisive way by putting of accents, shifting of horizons, and providing of meaning. If the mission would be conducted in a permanent open dialogue with the culture, it may become an inculturation of faith.

Markus Luber S. J.
Missions in the Tension between Religion and Culture

The Study of German Jesuit elaborates notions of mission and inculturation. The examples show how the downshift of religion relative to culture in the modern times – because of vagueness of the notion of culture – leads to neutralization of the religious phenomena, alas often of the essential ones. If, instead of this, a basic communication process between culture and religion is taken seriously, the possibility of restoring a positive conversation as regards the mission is opening. The dialogic nature of the mission also does not oppose to the interreligious dialogue. Only when in the intercultural field various cross-cultural beliefs confront in their missionary activities, the dialogue is required – which in relation to the common beliefs may include mutual enrichment and collaboration. This also eliminates suspicions that under the sticker of dialogue there are going on hidden missionary activities. Referring to the discussion about human rights the author shows that the cross-cultural dimension required by religion has parallels in the claim for validity of “secular” universalisms, which enables further enhanced dialogue…

Michael Sievernich S. J.
May a Sin Justify a War?
Francisco de Vitoria O. P. and his Contribution to the International Law

The study of Jesuit historian reflecting the theme of the just war turns attention to the broader theme of the European attitude towards the missionary territories and towards their inhabitants. Besides the introduction to the debate on the just war and missions linked with the Spanish Dominicans in 16th century (Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Francisco de Vitoria, Bartolomé de Las Casas), the author pursues their reception of news about newly discovered and occupied territories in the New World and the consequent theological reflection. The main issue was the concept of sinfulness of pagan population, and the question whether it could be taken as a pretext for their military subjugation. The author demonstrates the extent of the socio-critical potential of this doctrine of sin, and argues that the de-legitimization of sin as the destination of international relations, carried out by Vitoria, contributed to the formation of the international law.

Paul Oberholzer S. J.
Jesuits in the Middle Kingdom
How the First Europeans of Modern Times Entered China and Came to Terms with Confucianism

The study reveals the background of arrangements for the mission trip to China in the context of overseas explorations and expansion of sea powers in the 16th century. There is outlined the situation of China of that times and its encounter with the first Christian missionaries. On the main character of the Chinese missions – Matteo Ricci S. J., the author shows the various kinds of problems that missionaries had to deal with, both in terms of integration into a totally different environment, and theological aspects of dealing with the local religion – Confucianism, as well as the key issue connected with them – the integration of Confucius into the Christian world view.

Who Defies the State Policy Is „Harmonized“
Interview about the Chinese Church and Mission

The interview with the Chinese priest, for the security reasons remaining anonymous, touches a number of issues from the field of current religious situation and position of Christianity in China. He speaks here about the place of Christianity in society, about the relationship of Christianity and the state, about the interest for Christianity among the Chinese in general, but also about the forms of monitoring and control by the ruling power. It includes the personal recollections of life in the Christian village, of the way to the priesthood in conditions of the formal priest seminary, etc.

Emeka Vernantius Ndukaihe
The Name: A Conscious Value Key to the Human Identity – the Voice of Africa

The study of the theologian of Nigerian origin shows the importance of a proper name for the identity of a member of the Nigerian Igbo nation. The nation, in which a religion – now it is Christianity – plays a very important role, inserts into the naming a person a number of other aspects, often religious in nature. The author shows how much damage was done by misunderstanding of this custom, e. g. in communication with the missionaries. Therefore the theological aspects of naming human person are stressed, and possible ways of missionary approach are offered.

Ludvík Grundman O. P.
„Then preach (up yourself)!“
„I Revealed Myself to Those Who Did Not Ask for Me.“ (Isa 65:1)

The report of the young Czech Dominican shows a way of the management during the weeklong Dominican street-mission both in the North Bohemian episcopal town of Litoměřice and in the French seaside resort Moulleau. In addition to the factual description of the course of evangelisation of such a type, the author compares the two environments, an attitude of the addressed in the Czech Republic and in France as well as their reactions. And last but not least he considers the missionary vocation as itself.

Philip Jenkins
The future Christianity

The study of the American historian calls attention to the phenomenon consistently overlooked by the western world, namely, to the growing influence of Christianity in the Third World, to the so-called Southern Christianity. Jenkins points that the fervent problems of liberal Western/Northern Christianity in many ways completely pass by the trends that are taken on by ever-growing populations in underdeveloped countries. This effect, which Jenkins compares to the Reformation, could lead even to a new schism, when to the forefront come the traditionalist, conservative and otherwise radical Christian trends in Africa, Asia and Latin America.