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History of the Church Chapter Fifteen

Exploration and Missionary Movements
by

J.W. Lane

on 24 March 2013

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Transcript of History of the Church Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen: Missionary Apostolate missionary In time . . . the tilma Death Spanish Missionaries While Europe was embroiled by the religious wars that followed the Reformation, the Church embarked on one of the greatest missionary expansions in her history. a time of exploration Missionary expansion followed worldwide exploration. New navigational technologies opened trade routes to the Orient, India, and ultimately the Americas. Opening the Atlantic The Mediterranean Sea was the primary trade route between East and West until the 1500s. However, advances in navigation opened routes across the Atlantic, and around the African coast. The Route to India By the early 1500s, Portuguese sailors had bypassed the Muslim-controlled Mediterranean trade routes and were routinely navigating around the coast of Africa to India and much of Asia. Christopher Wanting to compete with the Portuguese, the Spanish financed Christopher Columbus' voyage across the Atlantic in 1492. The New World Although Columbus never found the passage to Asia for which he was looking, his discovery of the New World inspired a new wave of exploration. It was only a matter of time before other European countries - France, the Netherlands, and England - began sending explorers to the New World. The Counter-Reformation galvanized the Catholic Church and many missionaries were inspired to carry the good news of Christ to the New World. Obstacles The missionaries faced serious challenges from the outset. These included:
1. Distance. Travel to and from the New World some-
times took years.
2. Climate. Temperatures ranged from bitter cold in the
mountains to burning heat in the jungles.
3. Language. Limited vocabularies made catechesis tough. 4. Persecution. Pagans often reacted to the
Christian faith violently.
5. Hypocrisy. By far the worst obstacle to
evangelization was the bad example set by
some of the settlers.
In spite of these obstacles, the Church was able to firmly establish itself in the New World. Evangelizing the Indians St. Francis worked tirelessly to spread the faith across the Indian subcontinent. He challenged settlers to improve their conduct, baptized locals, and established missions. Mission to Japan St. Francis Xavier eventually made his way to Japan. The rigid, feudal structure of Japanese society at the time made missionary work difficult. He left after converting about 2,000 people. St. Francis Xavier planned to travel from Japan to China in order to continue his missionary work. Unfortunately, he became sick with a fever and died on the island of Sancian. Saint Francis St. Francis Xavier arrived in Goa, India in 1542. He was a founding member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and a personal friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuit missionaries continued St. Francis Xavier's work in India and China. Nonetheless, by the mid 18th-century, suppression of the Church in both countries by those who were wary of Western influences proved successful. The number of practicing Catholics dwindled. spreading Spanish missionaries took time to understand native traditions and languages. They also shared their agricultural and technological knowledge. This intermingling of cultures would eventually bring millions into the Catholic Church and Christianize Latin America. The native peoples of the Americas were largely animists (the view that material objects and nonhuman animals have spirits). They were also superstitious. Human sacrifice was a common practice. Our Lady of Guadalupe The early missionaries had a difficult time winning converts. However, an appearance of Mary to St. Juan Diego on December 9, 1531 would change everything. St. Juan Diego brought the roses to the bishop in his tilma, or cloak made from cactus fibers. When he opened the tilma, an image of Mary was imprinted on it. the image The image was a message to the people of America: Mary is greater than the sun, moon and stars (the highest objects of animistic worship). Yet, even she bows her head to the one, true God. & missionary movements exploration expansion Columbus Obstacles Continued Xavier Aftermath The propagation of the Catholic faith in the New World was one of the main goals of the Spanish nobility. Toward that end, Spanish kings funded the Church's missionary work. The New World Seeing the New World as a land of opportunity, Spain quickly established a strong and affluent hold on Central and South America. the good news Native Religions Our Lady of Guadalupe the conversion of Mexico Within ten years of Mary's appearance to St. Juan Diego, over nine million Mexican Indians would receive the Sacrament of Baptism and become members of the Catholic Church. North America While the Spanish colonized South and Central America, the French were busy colonizing North America from Quebec to New Orleans. Jesuit missionaries accompanied the settlers, and worked to convert the Indian tribes. Working among the Indians sometimes came at a high cost. The Jesuits Sts. Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, and companions were captured by the Iroquois, tortured, and killed. Jesuit Martyrs Maryland: A group of English settlers founded the colony of Maryland in 1632. It was intended to be a haven for Catholics in the New World. conclusion Although the Protestant Reformation brought division to the Church in Europe, God was working to bring about a unity of faith in the New World. Millions of people in the Americas joined the Catholic Church during this unprecedented period of evangelization. study questions Please do the following questions on p 576-577:
1-3, 9, 16-17, 25-26 The Church saw these new horizons as opportunities for evangelization. continued Mary asked St. Juan Diego to have a shrine built in her honor near Mexico City. When the local bishop, who was understandably skeptical, asked for a sign, Mary directed Juan to pick roses, which were not in season, on Tepeyac Hill. However, as Protestants began settling in Maryland, tensions arose, leading to the creation of a bicameral legislature to protect everyone's rights. A Catholic Colony
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