Select Page

Pope Pius XII — 1952 / Exsul Familia Nazarethana — Apostolic Constitutionm / The Church’s Motherly Solicitude for Migrants

Pope Pius XII — 1952 / Exsul Familia Nazarethana — Apostolic Constitutionm / The Church’s Motherly Solicitude for Migrants

Exsul Familia Nazarethana

Apostolic Constitution


The émi­gré Holy Fam­i­ly of Nazareth, flee­ing into Egypt, is the arche­type of every refugee fam­i­ly. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, liv­ing in exile in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are, for all times and all places, the mod­els and pro­tec­tors of every migrant, alien and refugee of what­ev­er kind who, whether com­pelled by fear of per­se­cu­tion or by want, is forced to leave his native land, his beloved par­ents and rel­a­tives, his close friends, and to seek a for­eign soil.

For the almighty and most mer­ci­ful God decreed that His only Son, “being made like unto men and appear­ing in the form of a man,” should, togeth­er with His Immac­u­late Vir­gin Moth­er and His holy guardian Joseph, be in this type too of hard­ship and grief, the first­born among many brethren, and pre­cede them in it.

In order that this exam­ple and these con­sol­ing thoughts would not grow dim but rather offer refugees and migrants a com­fort in their tri­als, and fos­ter Chris­t­ian hope, the Church had to look after them with spe­cial care and unremit­ting aid. She sought to pre­serve intact in them the Faith of their fathers and a way of life that con­formed to the moral law. She also had to con­tend stren­u­ous­ly with numer­ous dif­fi­cul­ties, pre­vi­ous­ly unknown and unforsee­able, which were encoun­tered abroad. Above all, it was nec­es­sary to com­bat the evil work of those per­verse men who, alas, asso­ci­at­ed with migrants under the pre­text of bring­ing mate­r­i­al aid, but with the intent of dam­ag­ing their souls.

How seri­ous and grave would be the rea­sons for anx­i­ety and anguish had the Church’s spir­i­tu­al care been lack­ing or found want­i­ng in the past or the present! The dis­as­ters would have been more lam­en­ta­ble than those of the trag­ic days of St Augus­tine! Then, the Bish­op of Hip­po insis­tent­ly urged his priests not to leave their flocks with­out pas­tors dur­ing the oppres­sive cat­a­stro­phes. He remind­ed them what ben­e­fits their pres­ence would bring and what hav­oc would inevitably fol­low if their flocks were abandoned.

When the priests are absent, what ruin for those who must leave this world either unbap­tized or still chained by sin! What sad­ness for their friends, who will not have them as com­pan­ions in the repose of eter­nal life! What grief for all, and whet blas­phe­my by some, due to the absence of the priest and of his ministry. 

One can read­i­ly under­stand what the dread of pass­ing evils can do, and what great eter­nal evil fol­lows! On the oth­er hand, when the priests are at their posts they help every­one with all the strength the Lord has giv­en them. Some are bap­tized, oth­ers make their peace with God. None is deprived of receiv­ing the Body of Christ in Com­mu­nion; all are con­soled, edi­fied and urged to pray to God, Who can wand off all dangers!


The Church’s Moth­er­ly Solic­i­tude for Migrants

Holy Moth­er Church, impelled by her ardent love of souls has striv­en to ful­fill the duties inher­ent in her man­date of sal­va­tion for all mankind, a man­date entrust­ed to her by Christ. She has been espe­cial­ly care­ful to pro­vide all pos­si­ble spir­i­tu­al care for pil­grims, aliens, exiles and migrants of every kind. This work has been car­ried out chiefly by priests who, in admin­is­ter­ing the Sacra­ments and preach­ing the Word of God, have labored zeal­ous­ly to strength­en the Faith of the Chris­tians in the bond of charity.

Let us briefly review what the Church has done in this mat­ter in the dis­tant past and then dis­cuss more ful­ly the imple­men­ta­tion of this work in our own times.

First, let us recall what the great St. Ambrose did and said when that illus­tri­ous Bish­op of Milan suc­ceed­ed in ran­som­ing the wretched cap­tives who had been tak­en after the defeat of the Emper­or Valen­tine near Adri­a­nop­o­lis. He sac­ri­ficed the sacred ves­sels in order to pro­tect the des­ti­tute ones from phys­i­cal suf­fer­ing and to relieve them of their press­ing spir­i­tu­al dan­gers which were even a greater haz­ard. “For who,” said Ambrose,

is so cal­lous, unfeel­ing, herd-heart­ed and cru­el that he does not want men saved from death and women from bar­barous attacks worse than death?

For who is not will­ing to res­cue girls and boys or lit­tle chil­dren from the ser­vice of pagan idols, into which they have been forced under pain of death? We have not under­tak­en this work with­out rea­son; and we have done it open­ly to pro­claim that it is far bet­ter to pre­serve souls for the Lord than to pre­serve gold.

Equal­ly noble were the vig­or­ous ardent labors of bish­ops and priests who sought to bring to new­com­ers the bless­ings of the true Faith and to intro­duce them into the social cus­toms of these new coun­tries. They also facil­i­tat­ed the assim­i­la­tion of the uncul­tured invaders whom they intro­duced both to the Chris­t­ian reli­gion and to a new culture.

We indeed are hap­py to recall those reli­gious orders found­ed specif­i­cal­ly to ran­som pris­on­ers. Their mem­bers, burn­ing with Chris­t­ian love, endured great hard­ships on behalf of their enchained broth­ers for the pur­pose of lib­er­at­ing, or at least, of con­sol­ing many of them.

With the dis­cov­ery of the New World, Christ’s priests were the tire­less com­pan­ions of the men who found­ed colonies in those far dis­tant lands. It was these priests who made sure that these colonists would not desert Chris­t­ian ways nor become proud because of the rich­es acquired in the new lands. These priests also wished to move for­ward suit­ably and read­i­ly as mis­sion­ar­ies to teach the Gospel to the natives, who pre­vi­ous­ly were entire­ly igno­rant of the Divine Light. And they zeal­ous­ly pro­claimed that the natives were to be treat­ed as broth­ers by the colonists.

We must also men­tion those apos­tles of the Church who labored for the relief and con­ver­sion of those Negroes who were bar­barous­ly deport­ed from their own land and sold as slaves in Amer­i­can and Euro­pean ports.

We wish also to say a few words con­cern­ing the unceas­ing care exer­cised in behalf of pil­grims by a num­ber of devout asso­ci­a­tions. Prov­i­den­tial­ly set up dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages, these groups flour­ished through­out the Chris­t­ian world, and espe­cial­ly here in Rome. Under their influ­ence, innu­mer­able hos­pices and hos­pi­tals for strangers, church­es and nation­al soci­eties were estab­lished. Many traces of them are found even today.

Espe­cial­ly wor­thy of note were the Pil­grims’ Halls: Sax­on, Frank­ish, Frisian, which by the 8th cen­tu­ry had been estab­lished around the Vat­i­can beside the tomb of St. Peter, Prince of the Apos­tles. These Halls housed vis­i­tors from coun­tries north of the Alps who had jour­neyed to Rome to ven­er­ate the mem­o­ry of the Apostles.

These Halls were pro­vid­ed with their own church­es and ceme­ter­ies, and staffed by priests and cler­ics of their respec­tive nation­al­i­ties, who pro­vid­ed for the mate­r­i­al and spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of their peo­ple, espe­cial­ly the sick and the poor. In the fol­low­ing cen­turies oth­er monas­ter­ies were built, with their asso­ci­at­ed hos­pices for pil­grims. Includ­ed among them were Ethiopi­an or Abyssin­ian, Hun­gar­i­an and Armen­ian Halls. All this hap­pi­ly echoed words of the Apos­tle Paul: “… shar­ing the needs of the saints, prac­tis­ing hospitality.”

This expe­ri­ence proves that the sacred min­istry can be car­ried on more effec­tive­ly among strangers and pil­grims if it is exer­cised by priests of their own nation­al­i­ty or at least who speak their lan­guage. This is espe­cial­ly true in the case of the une­d­u­cat­ed or those who are poor­ly instruct­ed in the Cat­e­chism. The Fourth Lat­er­an Coun­cil solemn­ly affirmed that this right­ly was so, declar­ing in 1215: “We find in most coun­tries, cities and dio­ce­ses in which peo­ple of diverse lan­guages who, though bound by one Faith, have var­ied rites and cus­toms. There­fore we strict­ly enjoin that the Bish­ops of these cities or dio­ce­ses pro­vide the prop­er men, who will cel­e­brate the Litur­gi­cal Func­tions accord­ing to their rites and lan­guages. They will admin­is­ter the Sacra­ments of the Church and instruct their peo­ple both by word and by deed.” The Church has fol­lowed this instruc­tion scrupu­lous­ly, even down to our own days.

Indeed, as we know, spe­cial parish­es have been estab­lished for the var­i­ous lan­guages and nation­al­i­ty groups. At times, even dio­ce­ses have been estab­lished for the dif­fer­ent rites. It is this aspect to which we now turn our attention.

Such parish­es, most fre­quent­ly request­ed by the emi­grants them­selves, were a source of great ben­e­fit both to dio­ce­ses and to souls. Every­one rec­og­nizes this and respects it with due esteem. There­fore, the Code of Canon Law duly pro­vides for them (Can. 216, 4). And as the Holy See grad­u­al­ly gave its approval, numer­ous nation­al parish­es were estab­lished, espe­cial­ly in Amer­i­ca. Very recent­ly, to cite but one exam­ple, parish­es were set up, by decree of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, for the Chi­nese liv­ing in the Philip­pine Islands.

Indeed, there nev­er has been a peri­od dur­ing which the Church has not been active in behalf of migrants, exiles and refugees. But to be brief, we will recount only her work of recent years.

It is well to begin this sur­vey by men­tion­ing the fifty vol­umes pre­served in the Vat­i­can Archives: Holy See’s Care in behalf of the French. Tru­ly they con­sti­tute a mag­nif­i­cent proof of the nev­er-end­ing devo­tion of the Roman Pon­tif­fs to the hap­less per­sons ban­ished from their coun­try by rev­o­lu­tion or war.

These vol­umes reveal the father­ly care tak­en of the French by our pre­de­ces­sors Pius VI and Pius VII. Dri­ven from their native land, many of these émi­grés were received with open arms in the Papal State, and par­tic­u­lar­ly in Rome, while oth­ers took refuge in oth­er countries.

We are hap­py to men­tion Blessed Vin­cent Pal­lot­ti, the emi­nent founder of the Catholic Apos­tolic Soci­ety. We our­selves have called him the “pride and glo­ry of the Roman Cler­gy” and at the begin­ning of the recent Jubilee year, we glad­ly announced that he was among the resplen­dent com­pa­ny of the Beat­i­fied. Urged on by love of souls and eager to strength­en the Catholic Faith of Ital­ian immi­grants in Eng­land, Blessed Vin­cent sent sev­er­al of his Con­gre­ga­tion to Lon­don to pro­vide for the spir­i­tu­al care of their peo­ple. Our pre­de­ces­sor Pius IX grant­ed Blessed Vincent’s request for per­mis­sion to col­lect funds for the con­struc­tion of a new church build­ing in Lan­don which was to be ded­i­cat­ed to the glo­ry of God in hon­or of St. Peter, Prince of the Apos­tles, and it was intend­ed chiefly for Ital­ian immigrants.

Toward the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry, when the social means of pros­per­i­ty became avail­able to the poor in a man­ner pre­vi­ous­ly unknown, great waves of peo­ple left Europe and moved espe­cial­ly from Italy to Amer­i­ca. As usu­al the Catholic Church devot­ed spe­cial effort and care to the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of these emi­grants. Inspired by devo­tion towards her exiled sons, she has through the cen­turies been ever quick not only to approve new meth­ods of Apos­to­late, more suit­able to the progress of peo­ples and the changed cir­cum­stances of the times, but she has also zeal­ous­ly inte­grat­ed them into this new social sys­tem, for she is ever care­ful to warn of the dan­gers that threat­en soci­ety, moral­i­ty, and religion.

The record of our pre­de­ces­sor Leo XIII pro­vides clear evi­dence of the Holy See’s dili­gent solic­i­tude, a solic­i­tude which became more ardent as pub­lic offi­cials and pri­vate insti­tu­tions seemed the more dila­to­ry in meet­ing the new needs. Leo XIII not only upheld vig­or­ous­ly the dig­ni­ty and rights of the work­ing man but also defend­ed stren­u­ous­ly those emi­grants who sought to earn their liv­ing abroad. On July 9, 1878, when he had been Pope for only a year, he gra­cious­ly approved the Soci­ety of St. Raphael, estab­lished by the Bish­ops of Ger­many to aid emi­grants from that nations Through the years, the Soci­ety worked advan­ta­geous­ly in behalf of emi­grants in the ports of depar­ture and arrival, and aid­ed oth­er nation­al­i­ties, such as Bel­gian, Aus­tri­an and Ital­ian, as their own.

Lat­er, in an Apos­tolic Let­ter of 1887, he approved as most ben­e­fi­cial and time­ly the project of the Ser­vant of God, John Bap­tist Scal­abri­ni, then Bish­op of Pia­cen­za. The plan was “to found an insti­tute of priests ready and will­ing to leave their native land for remote places, par­tic­u­lar­ly, for Amer­i­ca, where they could car­ry on the priest­ly min­istry among the numer­ous Ital­ian Catholics, who were forced by eco­nom­ic dis­tress to emi­grate and to take up res­i­dence in for­eign lands.”

Then, aid­ed by ener­getic priests and far-sight­ed prelates, this apos­tolic man, whom we our­selves in 1946 pro­claimed most valu­able to the Church and State, found­ed a Soci­ety of priests. In the apt words of Leo XIII, in the let­ter which we shall men­tion lat­er, Leo said: “In that Soci­ety, priests burn­ing with love of Christ gath­er togeth­er from all parts of Italy to devote them­selves to stud­ies and to prac­tices of these duties and ways of life that would make them effec­tive and suc­cess­ful ambas­sadors of Christ to the Ital­ians scat­tered abroad.”

Thus was found­ed a new reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty, the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles for Ital­ian Emi­grants. The Ser­vant of God John Bap­tist Scal­abri­ni is hon­ored as its Founder.

We are hap­py like­wise to men­tion anoth­er let­ter that the same great Leo, our pre­de­ces­sor, sent the fol­low­ing year to the Arch­bish­ops and Bish­ops of Amer­i­ca. For­tu­nate­ly that let­ter inspired many new projects and devel­oped an eager rival­ry in giv­ing aid to the emi­grants. Numer­ous priests, as well as many mem­bers of reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties jour­neyed to every part of Amer­i­ca in order to help their scat­tered brethren. At that same time, soci­eties and institu­tions were estab­lished to aid the mass­es of emi­grants from Italy, Ger­many, Ire­land, Aus­tria, Hun­gary, France, Switzer-land, Bel­gium, Hol­land, Spain and Por­tu­gal, and very promi­nent nation­al parish­es were established.

In his wis­dom and char­i­ty, Leo XIII did not neglect mere tem­po­rary migra­tions or those migra­tions with­in Europe. More than one let­ter from the Sec­re­tary of State to the Ital­ian Bish­ops tes­ti­fies clear­ly to this con­cern of the great Pontiff.”

Again inspired by the earnest call of Leo XIII and impelled by the love of souls, Jere­mias Bonomel­li, Bish­op of of Cre­mona, found­ed an Agency for the Assis­tance of Ital­ians who had migrat­ed to oth­er parts of Europe. From this Agency arose many insti­tu­tions and flour­ish­ing cen­ters of civic edu­ca­tion and wel­fare. In 1900, devout priests and emi­nent lay­men attract­ed to the work found­ed suc­cess­ful “mis­sions” in Switzer­land, Aus­tria, Ger­many and France. So that such a ben­e­fi­cial work might not cease, with the death of Bonomel­li our pre­de­ces­sor Bene­dict XV entrust­ed Fer­di­nand Rodolfi, Bish­op of Vicen­za, with the care of Ital­ians who had emi­grat­ed to var­i­ous coun­tries of Europe.”

It is well also men­tion here, those numer­ous insti­tu­tions for the edu­ca­tion of boys and girls, the hos­pi­tals and oth­er wel­fare agen­cies most ben­e­fi­cial­ly estab­lished for the faith­ful of var­i­ous lan­guage groups and nation­al ori­gins. These insti­tu­tions dai­ly became more and more pros­per­ous. It is in this type of work that St Frances Xavier Cabri­ni stands out most bril­liant­ly. Advised and encour­aged by that Ser­vant of God, John Bap­tist Scal­abri­ni, this saint­ly woman was also sup­port­ed by the author­i­ty of Leo XIII of hap­py mem­o­ry. The Holy Father per­suad­ed her to look west­ward rather than towards the East. Hav­ing decid­ed to go to North Amer­i­ca, she per­se­vered in her mis­sion­ary under-tak­ings with such love that she her­self reaped the rich­est har­vests. More­over, because of her extra­or­di­nary devo­tion and out­stand­ing work for Ital­ian emi­grants, she was right­ly called the “Moth­er of Ital­ian Emigrants.”

It is to our pre­de­ces­sor St. Pius X that we must attribute the sys­tem­at­ic orga­ni­za­tion of Catholic labors in behalf of emi­grants in Europe, in the East and in Amer­i­ca. While he was still a pas­tor in Salzano, he went to the assis­tance of those of his beloved peo­ple who were emi­grat­ing, seek­ing to assure them a safe voy­age and a secure liv­ing in the new coun­try. Lat­er, as Pope he looked with a spe­cial care after the uproot­ed and dis­persed sheep of his uni­ver­sal flock and made spe­cial pro­vi­sion in their behalf.

St. Pius X was aflame with love for the faith­ful who had emi­grat­ed to dis­tant lands, such as North and South Amer­i­ca. The zeal of the Bish­ops and priests in wel­com­ing them was a great joy to him, as is clear­ly evi­dent from a let­ter he sent the Arch­bish­op of New York, on Feb­ru­ary 26, 1904. In this let­ter he praised and approved the con­cern the Arch­bish­op had shown for Ital­ian immi­grants to guard them from many dan­gers and help them to per­se­vere in the prac­tice of the Faith of their Fathers. He also praised the Archbishop’s efforts in found­ing a sem­i­nary for the prop­er train­ing of priests from the Ital­ian community.

St. Pius’ inter­est is also attest­ed by remarks he made in an address to pil­grims from the Argen­tine Republic18 and in a let­ter to the Bish­ops of Brazil.19 And sim­i­lar­ly in let­ters to the Supe­ri­or Gen­er­al of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles 20 and to the Direc­tor of the Anton­ian Soci­ety. Like­wise to the Pres­i­dent of the Catholic Soci­ety for Immi­grants, which had been recent­ly found­ed in Canada.

As a mat­ter of fact the Mis­sion­ary Soci­ety of St. Antho­ny of Pad­ua was estab­lished in 1905 with the approval of St. Pius X specif­i­cal­ly to pro­vide prop­er spir­i­tu­al care for the emi­grants both dur­ing the voy­age and in the ports of dis­em­barka­tion and after their set­tle­ment in their adopt­ed countries.

As to Italy itself, most impor­tant were the reg­u­la­tions issued by the Sec­re­tary of State of the Bish­ops of that land.

Both the Bish­ops of the emi­grants and those of the émi­grés con­stant­ly kept the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion informed of their con­di­tions. The same Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion car­ried out prompt­ly the Pontiff’s order by prop­er­ly reor­ga­niz­ing exist­ing agen­cies for migrants and by set­ting up new agen­cies where nec­es­sary, as well as rec­om­mend­ing to Bish­ops the estab­lish­ment of com­mit­tees and spon­sor­ships on behalf of emigrants.

In his great solic­i­tude, St. Pius X did not con­fine him­self to one method of spir­i­tu­al aid. Because of the hard­ships and the cir­cum­stances of the places in which they found them-selves, some peo­ple, after emi­grat­ing from Europe to dis­tant lands, were con­tract­ing mar­riage with­out the canon­i­cal for­mal­i­ties and even resort­ed to attempt­ed mar­riage. Since such for­mal­i­ties were designed to pre­vent cer­tain high­ly unde­sir­able evils, the Pon­tiff was anx­ious that they be ful­ly observed. When he learned of their neglect, he direct­ed the Con­gre­ga­tion of Sacra­ments to issue instruc­tions con­cern­ing proof of free­dom to mar­ry and, like­wise, the noti­fi­ca­tion of the con­tract­ed mar­riage. These instruc­tions were issued again,” by the same Con­gre­ga­tion a few years lat­er and after­wards even these were sup­ple­ment­ed by pru­dent rules for the ben­e­fit of migrants con­tract­ing mar­riage by proxy.

While the great St. Pius X was gov­ern­ing the Uni­ver­sal Church, spe­cial rules were pro­mul­gat­ed for the priests and laypeo­ple of the Ruthen­ian Rite liv­ing in the Unit­ed States, even a Ruthen­ian Bish­op was assigned to them and still anoth­er Ruthen­ian Bish­op was entrust­ed with the spir­i­tu­al care of Catholics of the Rite who were res­i­dent in Canada.

Under the same pon­tif­i­cate, a soci­ety for the exten­sion of the Catholic Church was found­ed in Toron­to, Cana­da. This wor­thy soci­ety was abun­dant­ly suc­cess­ful, for it pro­tect­ed from the inroads of heretics the Ruthen­ian Catholics liv­ing in North­west Cana­da. The rules gov­ern­ing the rela­tions between the Cana­di­an Hier­ar­chy and the Ruthen­ian Bish­op, and between the priests and laity of both rites, were clear­ly established.

In Rome, the Church of Our Sav­ior and its adjoin­ing rec­to­ry on the Via delle Copp­pelle were giv­en to the Ruman­ian Bish­op from the eccle­si­as­ti­cal province of Fagaras and Alba Julia.

The most impor­tant, how­ev­er, of all the mea­sures in behalf of the emi­grants was the estab­lish­ment, in the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, of the Spe­cial Office for the Spir­i­tu­al Care of Migrants. “Its pur­pose,” in the words of St. Pius X, was:

To seek out and pro­vide every­thing to improve the condi­tion of the migrants of the Roman Rite in all that per­tains to the wel­fare of souls. With regard to migrants of Raster, Rites, how­ev­er, the rights of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Faith are to be pre­served. This Con­gre­ga­tion may, with­in its com­pe­tence, make appro­pri­ate pro­vi­sion for them. The Spe­cial Office, how­ev­er, has exclu­sive charge of migrants who are priests.

Nei­ther could pro­vi­sion and guid­ance for migrant priests be neglect­ed. Indeed the Holy See had long before cared for them through the Con­gre­ga­tion of the Coun­cil” and through the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Faith for cler­ics of Ori­en­tal Rites, as well as through the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion. Since, in fact, some of the priests who emi­grat­ed over­seas were vic­tim­ized by mate­r­i­al com­forts and over­looked the wel­fare of souls, time­ly rules were pub­lished by the same Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion. The rules applied also to priests “dis­charg­ing their mis­sion among farm­ers and oth­er work­ers: ” By these rules poten­tial abus­es would be root­ed out and penal­ties fixed for violations.

In anoth­er deci­sion of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, those rules were made to con­form with the Code of Canon Law, pub­lished a short time before, and they are still ben­e­fi­cial­ly in force. As time passed, oth­er reg­u­la­tions were added by the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church and by the. Con­gre­ga­tion for the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Faith, each for priests under its own jurisdiction.

The same Pon­tiff must also be cred­it­ed with the begin­ning of the Roman Col­lege estab­lished for the ben­e­fit of Ital­ians who had emi­grat­ed to oth­er lands. Young priests from the sec­u­lar cler­gy were to be giv­en a spe­cial course of stud­ies and be trained for the sacred min­istry among emi­grants. In order that the num­ber of stu­dents might cor­re­spond to the need, he urged the Ital­ian Bish­ops, and par­tic­u­lar­ly those who had an ample sup­ply of priests, “to send to the col­lege any of their priests who seemed qualified.”

Final­ly in the last days of his pon­tif­i­cate, when this saint­ly Pon­tiff was heart­bro­ken at the prospect of a cat­a­stroph­ic war and was about to receive his eter­nal reward, it was he who per­son­al­ly, as a most lov­ing father, drew up the by-laws of the Col­lege sub­se­quent­ly turn­ing them over to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion for publication.

Earnest­ly fol­low­ing the dis­tin­guished path of his pre­de­ces­sor, and accept­ing the care of migrants as an inherit­ance bequeathed to him, the Pon­tiff Bene­dict XV had scarce­ly ascend­ed the Chair of St. Peter when he secured the res­i­dence for the above men­tioned Col­lege at St. Apol­li­naris. The Holy See, at this time, was pro­vid­ing a great deal of finan­cial war relief for the areas rav­aged by war eas­ing inflict­ed un the vic­tims. Hence the Vat­i­can could no longer sup­port the Col­lege sin­gle-hand­ed­ly. It was then that the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion did not hes­i­tate to ask the Bish­ops of Italy and Amer­i­ca for funds to main­tain it.

In order to assist Catholic endeav­ors in behalf of the spir­i­tu­al care of Ital­ian migrants, this same Con­gre­ga­tion request­ed the Bish­ops of Italy to estab­lish an annu­al day for tak­ing up a col­lec­tion for this work. Lat­er, it direct­ed that every pas­tor should each year offer one Mass for the inten­tion of the Holy Father, instead of pro pop­u­lo, and should con­tribute the offer­ing from such Mass to the apos­to­late in behalf of emigrants.

Full well do all know, espe­cial­ly migrants and mis­sion­ar­ies, that this mon­ey was exclu­sive­ly spent to sup­port relief agen­cies which were estab­lished in for­eign lands to pro­vide time­ly and secure aid to migrants, “whose Catholic Faith and Catholic prac­tices were often threat­ened with almost incred­i­ble dan­gers.” In fact, these agen­cies are either under the direc­tion of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion or of mis­sion­ar­ies of reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties of men or women.

The same Pon­tiff pro­posed to the Bish­ops of Cal­abria that eccle­si­as­ti­cal spon­sor­ships be estab­lished for the ben­e­fit of Ital­ian migrants.

For­eign work­ers were then pour­ing into Brazil from Europe; some in the hope of becom­ing pros­per­ous, oth­ers dri­ven by want. Bene­dict XV, there­fore, earnest­ly request­ed the Arch­bish­op of Sao Paulo and the oth­er Bish­ops of Brazil to under­take their care, with the coop­er­a­tion of their good Brazil­ian priests,” so that the new work­ers would not, once they had left their native coun­tries, give up the Chris­t­ian cus­toms of their ancestors.

Bene­dict XV also rec­om­mend­ed the same prac­tices to the Bish­op of Tren­ton, while prais­ing his great dili­gence in this work. For, when an Ital­ian com­mu­ni­ty devel­oped in that dio­cese, a church and an adja­cent build­ing were imme­di­ate­ly erect­ed for them. In fact, the Pon­tiff expressed his ardent wish that Ital­ian immi­grants would be the object of the same solic­i­tude and assis­tance every­where in the Unit­ed States.

At this same time, Bene­dict XV also inter­est­ed him­self in those Ital­ians who were leav­ing their homes and migrat­ing tem­porar­i­ly into oth­er parts of Italy, as the women who work iii the rice fields do even today.”

Lat­er, he very wise­ly decid­ed to appoint a prelate, who, empow­ered with the nec­es­sary fac­ul­ties and free from dioce­san duties, could devote him­self entire­ly to the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of Ital­ian migrants. It was, there­fore, in 1920 that Bene­dict XV estab­lished the office of prelate for the Ital­ian migrants with the exclu­sive duty of choos­ing mis­sion­ar­ies des­tined for such work. The func­tion of the office was also to assist and super­vise them and to direct the Col­lege for priests who were to be assigned to pro­vide reli­gious and moral guid­ance to Ital­ian emi­grants abroad. So as to speed the devel­op­ment of this Col­lege, he set up the fol­low­ing year new by-laws to gov­ern it in a man­ner more adapt­ed to the needs of the times and circumstances.

Deeply moved by the trag­ic dis­tress of num­ber­less men tak­en pris­on­ers in the pro­longed dis­as­trous war, Bene­dict XV direct­ed that the bish­op of the dio­ce­ses in which pris­on­ers were held should with­out delay appoint one or, if nec­es­sary, sev­er­al priests, suf­fi­cient­ly famil­iar with the lan­guage of the pris­on­ers, to pro­vide for their care. “The priests cho­sen for this work should do every­thing pos­si­ble for the wel­fare of the pris­on­ers, whether it be for their souls, or for their phys­i­cal health. They should con­sole them, help and assist them in their man­i­fold needs, which at times prove so pressing.”

As the war con­tin­ued, he appoint­ed a spe­cial Ordi­nary to care for the spir­i­tu­al needs of refugees who had entered Italy,’” And he did not ignore the very grave dan­gers of cor­rup­tion to which Ger­man cit­i­zens, includ­ing many Catholics, were then exposed, com­pelled as they were in the mis­for­tunes of war, to seek oth­er lands to obtain the essen­tials of life. The Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion there­fore urged the Bish­ops, not only of Ger­many but also Cen­tral Europe, to con­sid­er the prob­lem of migrants care­ful­ly; to dis­cuss it in their meet­ings and epis­co­pal con­fer­ences and then to pro­vide nec­es­sary means for the imme­di­ate and prop­er alle­vi­a­tion of such great need.

At the same time, he point­ed out the advan­tage of expand­ing the activ­i­ties of the Soci­ety of St. Raphael. It had, before the war, offered innu­mer­able ben­e­fits to all trav­el­ers pro­vid­ing every kind of aid sug­gest­ed by pru­dence and charity.

Lat­er in 1921, the Arch­bish­op of Cologne was appoint­ed patron of the St. Raphael Soci­ety, found­ed in 1904, so that this Soci­ety might pro­vide for the reli­gious care of Ger­man ‑speak­ing Catholics then liv­ing in Italy. And this same Soci­ety in the fol­low­ing years also under­took the spir­i­tu­al care of Ger­mans through­out West­ern Europe. With the appoint­ment of the Bish­op of Osnabruck as its sec­ond patron, it cared for Ger­mans in East­ern Europe and even out­side Europe.

When civ­il war flared up in Mex­i­co, a num­ber of Mex­i­can Bish­ops, priests, reli­gious and many lay­men were unjust­ly expelled from their native coun­try and sought refuge in the Unit­ed States. Bene­dict XV warm­ly com­mend­ed them to the char­i­ty of Amer­i­can Catholics, writ­ing first to the Bish­op of San Anto­nio and then to the Arch­bish­op of Bal­ti­more, through whose gen­eros­i­ty poor boys des­tined for the priest­hood were received into the sem­i­nary. Such inter­est was, as the Pon­tiff said, “a great sat­is­fac­tion to us.”

We recall also what the same Pon­tiff very wise­ly did in behalf of the faith­ful of the Ori­en­tal Rites. The spir­i­tu­al assis­tance pro­vid­ed to the Catholics of the Greek-Ruthen­ian Rite, who had emi­grat­ed to South Amer­i­ca, was wide­ly extend­ed. A Sem­i­nary for the Ita­lo-Greek boys was found­ed at the Monastery of Grotta­fer­ra­ta near Rome.” The dio­cese of Lun­gro in Italy was estab­lished for Catholics of the Greek Rite who had once lived in Epirus and Alba­nia, but had fled the Turk­ish Rule and reached Italy, set­tling in Cal­abria and Sicily.

Nor do we con­sid­er it out of place to men­tion the decree of the Con­gre­ga­tion of Rites, des­ig­nat­ing Our Lady of Lore­to the heav­en­ly patroness of those who trav­el by air. May they who con­fide in her pro­tec­tion arrive safe­ly at their destination.”

We our­selves desired that the faith­ful should have an oppor­tu­ni­ty of going to Con­fes­sion while trav­el­ling by air. We, there­fore, lat­er decreed that the per­mis­sion grant­ed to priests by Canon 883 of the Code of Canon Law, giv­ing fac­ul­ties for hear­ing con­fes­sions while trav­el­ling by sea, should apply also and be extend­ed to priests trav­el­ling by air.

Our beloved pre­de­ces­sor, Pius XI, allowed no obsta­cle to hin­der this very impor­tant and suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment in behalf of migrants. Innu­mer­able migrants and refugees in Amer­i­ca and Europe expe­ri­enced abun­dant proof of the uni­ver­sal father­hood of Pius XI. Of the many pro­vi­sions which he made, we wish mere­ly to recall some of the more impor­tant ones begin­ning with those on behalf of Ori­en­tal peoples.

In the first year of his pon­tif­i­cate, Arme­nia was dev­as­tat­ed and many loy­al faith­ful were either slain or oth­er­wise sent wan­der­ing far from their native coun­try. He gen­er­ous­ly sup­port­ed his unfor­tu­nate sons thus deprived of all their pos­ses­sions. In par­tic­u­lar he wel­comed with father­ly hos­pi­tal­i­ty sick and orphaned chil­dren into a sec­tion of his palace of Cas­tel Gan­dol­fo and care­ful­ly main­tained them at his own expense.

In 1925, mat­ters per­tain­ing to Rus­sians exiled from their coun­try were entrust­ed to the Russ­ian Com­mis­sion,” and then, a spe­cial office was set up in the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tial Church to care for the Catholics of the Slav­ic Rite” all over the world.

Con­se­quent­ly, an epis­co­pal See was estab­lished in Har­bin, Chi­na, and a priest of the Byzan­tine-Slav­ic Rite was placed in charge of it, and as the Russ­ian Bish­op of Harbin, he was spir­i­tu­al ruler of all the cler­gy and lay peo­ple liv­ing in China.

Pre­ced­ing Pon­tif­fs had pro­vid­ed spe­cial church­es in Rome for Arme­ni­ans, Syr­i­ans, Maronites, Greeks, Ruthe­ni­ans and Ruma­ni­ans. Fol­low­ing their exam­ple, Pius XI assigned the Church of St. Antho­ny, the Her­mit, on the Esquilme to Catholics of the Slav­ic Rite who were res­i­dent in or pass­ing through Rome, so that they might wor­ship accord­ing to the cus­toms of their fathers.

A Russ­ian Sem­i­nary, erect­ed by his com­mand, was there-fore set up in a brand new build­ing with­in the premis­es.” Refugees from East­ern Europe of any reli­gion or nation­al­i­ty were aid­ed more than once by Pius XI by his encour­age­ment, exam­ple and spon­ta­neous offers of finan­cial aid as well as by arous­ing in their behalf the gen­eros­i­ty of the Bish­ops and peo­ples of Poland.

He sought to pro­mote the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of the Byzan­tine Rite com­mu­ni­ty which per­se­cu­tions had ear­li­er dri­ven to Italy, where sub­se­quent­ly he sep­a­rat­ed the Byzan­tine parish­es from the dio­ce­ses of Paler­mo and Mon­reale, form­ing the new Greek dio­cese or Eparchy of Piana. Like­wise, he set up time­ly rules for the spir­i­tu­al admin­is­tra­tion of the Greek-Ruthen­ian dio­ce­ses in the Unit­ed States and Canada.

As a token of his spe­cial good-will toward the Poles, he raised to the rank and dig­ni­ty of Minor Basil­i­ca the Church of St. Jos­aphat, Bish­op and Mar­tyr, in Mil­wau­kee, a Church which cares for Pol­ish-speak­ing Catholics. Then, in 1931, he appoint­ed the Arch­bish­op of Gniezno to be pro­tec­tor of all Pol­ish emigrants.

Fol­low­ing the exam­ple of the Pious Soci­ety of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles for Ital­ian migri­ants, a new reli­gious insti­tute was found­ed in the city of Godes­berg in 1924 for the assis­tance of Ger­man Catholics emi­grat­ing to for­eign lands. Pius XI right­ly praised this wor­thy and promis­ing under­tak­ing and when the insti­tute attained its desired devel­op­ment, he gave it the noble name: Soci­ety of the Holy Angels.

When bish­ops, priests, mem­bers of reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties and lay peo­ple had to flee Spain because of the most detestable antire­li­gious per­se­cu­tion rag­ing there, he received them humane­ly and con­soled them most affectionately.

In order that Mex­i­cans who emi­grat­ed to for­eign coun­tries might not become the prey of the ene­mies of Christ nor lose the Chris­t­ian ways of their fathers, he urged the Mex­i­can Bish­ops to con­fer with their broth­er bish­ops in the Unit­ed States, and he appealed for the coop­er­a­tion of Catholic Action groups.

This is the place to duly note the love that this same Pon­tiff demon­strat­ed for Negroes scat­tered through­out the world. It is clear­ly evi­dent from a let­ter to the Supe­ri­or Gen­er­al of the Soci­ety of the Divine Word, April 5, 1923, in which he sent his best wish­es for the sem­i­nary short­ly to be augu­rat­ed for Nego stu­dents. He described as most ben­e­fi­cial their plan to receive into the Soci­ety of the Divine Word those Negroes who seemed called to the reli­gious life.

Then, when these stu­dents had attained the priest­hood, they might exer­cise the sacred min­istry more effec­tive­ly among their own peoples.

With regard to the Ital­ians, the chap­lains aboard ships, who until then belonged to the Mis­sion­ary Soci­ety of St. Antho­ny of Pad­ua, were in Jan­u­ary 26, 1923 placed by Pius XI under the direct guid­ance of the head of the Col­lege of priests which had been estab­lished for Ital­ian peo­ple migrat­ing abroad and, sub­se­quen­ly, he had the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion pro­vide prac­ti­cal rules for the train­ing of these priests.

Sim­i­lar­ly, all priests already engaged in the work of assist­ing Ital­ian migrants were placed under a sin­gle direc­tor, cho­sen and appoint­ed by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion. He com­mand­ed that the Ital­ian immi­grants should be pro­vid­ed with prop­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards from the eccle­si­as­ti­cal author­i­ty before depar­ture so that they could be more read­i­ly rec­og­nized in their new home lands.

He gave the direc­tion of the Pious Soci­ety of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, a pro­vi­sion which brought many advan­tages to the Soci­ety. For through the efforts of our most beloved Raphael Car­di­nal Rossi, who was Sec­re­tary of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion and quite prop­er­ly con­sid­ered to be the sec­ond founder by the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles, the Con­sti­tu­tions of the Soci­ety were brought into har­mo­ny with the Code of Canon Law and then approved. This soci­ety was restored to its orig­i­nal reli­gious vows. Many new hous­es were estab­lished espe­cial­ly for train­ing priests; like­wise, sev­er­al autonomous reli­gious provinces and mis­sions were erect­ed. Con­se­quent­ly, the mem­ber­ship grew and its field of activ­i­ty devel­oped so rapid­ly in Amer­i­ca, in Europe and more recent­ly in Aus­tralia, that there appeared well found­ed hope for a more cer­tain and per­ma­nent assis­tance to Ital­ian migrants.

Final­ly, on April 17, 1922, that noble Pon­tiff bestowed his own benev­o­lence on and enhanced the work of the Apos­tle­ship of the Sea with offi­cial Papal approval. Such work was first estab­lished in Glas­gow, Scot­land, in 1920 for the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of sailors. After numer­ous con­gress­es and through the approval of Bish­ops, the Apos­to­late had so devel­oped and so wide­ly spread that we our­selves were hap­py, on May 30,1942, to place it under the ben­e­fi­cial direc­tion of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.

To ush­er this sub­ject into our own pon­tif­i­cate, we need only, describe what the Church has accom­plished dur­ing these last few years. As it is well known, soon after we were raised to the See of Rome there dai­ly appeared more bold and vio­lent symp­toms of unre­strained desire for extend­ing nation­al bound­aries, for an idol­ized suprema­cy of rage and the unbri­dled ten­den­cy to occu­py for­eign lands, and for reliance on might rather than on right with the con­se­quent cru­el and shame­less depor­ta­tion of entire nations and the forced migra­tion of peo­ples. These new crimes were, indeed, far worse than the ancient ones.

Soon there devel­oped a whirl­wind of most sor­row­ful events lead­ing to bar­barous war. Our own efforts on behalf of char­i­ty and peace began immediately.

We tried every­thing pos­si­ble, striv­ing, urg­ing, entreat­ing, plead­ing, and appeal­ing direct­ly to the heads of gov­ern­ments to pre­vent the dis­as­trous war. Even when this trag­ic war broke out and spread hon­or through­out the world, we still sought by word and deed to mit­i­gate and restrain it; as much as we could. In these sor­row­ful cir­cum­stances, the Church, as a uni­ver­sal moth­er, failed nei­ther in her duty nor in what was expect­ed of her. She, the “Head of the uni­ver­sal soci­ety of love,” became, as was her cus­tom, a com­fort for the afflict­ed, a refuge for the per­se­cut­ed, a home­land for the exiled.

No mat­ter how enor­mous the dif­fi­cul­ties that faced us and how impos­si­ble the times, we left noth­ing untried to bring some aid to our suf­fer­ing sons, with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion as to their sta­tus or nation­al­i­ty. We also exert­ed great efforts for the dis­placed Jews who were vic­tims of the cru­elest persecutions.

We approved, ini­ti­at­ed, and fur­thered many works of char­i­ty for the relief of count­less untold wartime dis­as­ters and hard­ships from which prac­ti­cal­ly no one escaped. But in all these works of char­i­ty, we were espe­cial­ly solic­i­tous for pris­on­ers of war, refugees, exiles and our oth­er sons who, for what­ev­er rea­son, had to wan­der far from their home­lands. And along with these, our chief con­cerns were chil­dren and orphans. Yet this being well known to all, since the record is amply doc­u­ment­ed, there is no need to recount it fur­ther. We can how­ev­er touch on a few spe­cif­ic items.

Dur­ing the First World War, we assist­ed our pre­de­ces­sor, Bene­dict XV, in his exten­sive char­i­ty. Again the Sec­ond World War had scarce­ly bro­ken out when, fol­low­ing his exam­ple, we estab­lished a spe­cial office under our Sec­re­tary of State to bring assis­tance to the poor and needy every­where. Still anoth­er office, for inquir­ing about and exchang­ing infor­ma­tion on pris­on­ers was main­tained through the war.

We also appoint­ed a num­ber of oth­er com­mis­sions, among them the com­mis­sion for the vic­tims of war, for civil­ian refugees and for those detained in cus­tody. This one was lat­er replaced by the Pon­tif­i­cal Com­mis­sion for Relief for all those who were in need. Equal­ly wor­thy of men­tion are the mis­sions arranged by our Sec­re­tari­ate of State and sent more than once into Ger­many and Aus­tria, chiefly to pro­vide for the wel­fare of refugees and dis­placed persons.

Then when peace was final­ly restored, at least in part, the neces­si­ty of pro­vid­ing for mil­lions of refugees became dai­ly more urgent. Many of them were pre­vent­ed from return­ing to their homes; while at the same time, a large num­ber of oth­er peo­ple in many over-pop­u­lat­ed coun­tries were oppressed by want and had to seek refuge in oth­er lands. Hence, we decid­ed to estab­lish an Office of Migra­tion in the very Sec­re­tari­ae of State itself. It was com­prised of two sec­tions: one for vol­un­tary migra­tion, the oth­er for enforced depor­ta­tion. We also del­e­gat­ed an eccle­si­as­tic to the Migra­tion Office estab­lished in Gene­va so that he might attend inter­na­tion­al meet­ings and con­gress­es held in that city.

Very recent­ly, we approved the Inter­na­tion­al Catholic Migra­tion Com­mis­sion, whose func­tion is to unite and orga­nize exist­ing Catholic asso­ci­a­tions and com­mit­tees, and to pro­mote, rein­force and coor­di­nate their projects and activ­i­ties in behalf of migrants and refugees.

Nor should we for­get to men­tion how our nun­cios and del­e­gates and oth­er eccle­si­as­tics specif­i­cal­ly sent to orga­nize com­mit­tees or com­mis­sions for needy refugees and for migrants, suc­cess­ful­ly found­ed them in every coun­try, indeed in almost every dio­cese. This of course, was brought about with the aid of the local bish­op and of priests, and of the mem­bers of Catholic Action and oth­er apos­tolic asso­ci­a­tions as well as oth­er wor­thy laymen.

The dili­gence and skill of these com­mit­tees and com­mis­sions wor­thy of our praise achieved many ben­e­fits which we our­selves wit­nessed and which we hope will safe­guard migrants and refugees.

The war that broke out in Pales­tine in 1948 brought new rea­sons for sad­ness and mourn­ing. Innu­mer­able refugees under­went hor­ri­ble suf­fer­ing, being forced to aban­don their pos­ses­sions and to wan­der through­out Libya, Syr­ia, Jor­dan, Egypt and the dis­trict of Gaza. Unit­ed in a com­mon dis­as­ter, both the rich and the poor, the Chris­tians and the non-Chris­tians, offered a sad and morurn­ful spectacle.

Imme­di­ate­ly, fol­low­ing the cus­tom of the Catholic Church to pro­vide assis­tance for the wretched and the aban­doned, we sent as much aid as pos­si­ble. As was cus­tom­ary in Apos­tolic times, we specif­i­cal­ly estab­lished the Pon­tif­i­cal Mis­sion for Pales­tine, which still relieves the want of Arab refugees through mon­ey col­lect­ed from Catholics every­where, but par­tic­u­lar­ly through the aid of the spe­cial agency estab­lished by Amer­i­can bish­ops, called the Catholic Near East Wel­fare Association.

We have tried earnest­ly to pro­duce in the minds of all peo­ple a sym­pa­thet­ic approach towards exiles and refugees who are our need­i­er broth­ers. In fact, we have often spo­ken of their wretched lives, upheld their rights, and more than once appealed in their behalf to the gen­eros­i­ty of all men and espe­cial­ly of Catholics. This we have done in radio address­es, in talks and dis­cours­es giv­en as occa­sion arose, and in let­ters to arch­bish­ops and bishops.

We wrote, for exam­ple, to our Ven­er­a­ble Broth­ers, Arch­bish­ops, Bish­ops and Ordi­nar­ies of places in Germany:

In the present cir­cum­stances, what seems most like­ly to stim­u­late and height­en your own char­i­ty and that of the Ger­man cler­gy is the neces­si­ty of assist­ing refugees by every resource and means of your min­istry. We refer both to refugees from your land who live abroad in scat­tered regions and to alien refugees in Ger­many who, often deprived of their friends, their goods and their homes, are forced to lead a squalid and for­lorn exis­tence, usu­al­ly in bar­racks out­side the towns. May all good Ger­mans and espe­cial­ly the priests and mem­bers of Catholic Action, turn their eyes and hearts toward these suf­fer­ing neigh­bors and pro­vide them with every­thing required by reli­gion and charity.

Sim­i­lar­ly, in our Encycli­cal Redemp­toris Nos­tri on the Holy Places in Pales­tine, we lament­ed sadly:

Very many fugi­tives of all ages and every state of life, dri­ven abroad by the dis­as­trous war, cry piti­ful­ly to us. They live in exile, under guard, and exposed to dis­ease and all man­ner of dangers.

We are not unaware of the great con­tri­bu­tions of pub­lic bod­ies and pri­vate cit­i­zens to the relief of this strick­en mul­ti­tude; and we, in a con­tin­u­a­tion of those efforts of char­i­ty with which we began our Pon­tif­i­cate, have tru­ly done all in our pow­er to relieve the great­est needs of these millions.

But the con­di­tion of these exiles is indeed so crit­i­cal, so unsta­ble that it can­not lot much longer. There­fore, since it is our duty to urge all gen­er­ous and well-mind­ed souls to relieve as much as pos­si­ble the wretched­ness and want of these exiles, we most earnest­ly implore those in author­i­ty to do jus­tice to all who have been dri­ven far away from homes by the tem­pest of war and who long above all to live in qui­et once more.

We have indeed made our grat­i­tude known to our very dear broth­ers in the epis­co­pate, as well as to priests and to cit­i­zens of every rank, to the pub­lic author­i­ties as well to benev­o­lent agen­cies that have aid­ed refugees and emi­grants in many dif­fer­ent ways through their activ­i­ties and advice.

Of these, we here recall with plea­sure our let­ter of Decem­ber 24, 1948, to the Chair­man of the Nation­al Catholic Wel­fare Con­fer­ence estab­lished by the bish­ops of the Unit­ed States to pro­mote the Catholic wel­fare; sim­i­lar­ly, our per­son­al let­ter of April 1951, which we sent to the Bish­ops of Aus­tralia, con­grat­u­lat­ing them on the 50th Anniver­sary of the Commonwealth.

More­over, we have repeat­ed­ly addressed the Rulers of States, the heads of agen­cies, and all upright and coop­er­a­tive men, urg­ing upon them the need to con­sid­er and resolve the very seri­ous prob­lems of refugees and migrants, and, at the same time, to think of the heavy bur­dens which all peo­ples bear because of the war and the spe­cif­ic means that should be applied to alle­vi­ate the grave evils. We asked them also to con­sid­er how ben­e­fi­cial for human­i­ty it would be if coop­er­a­tive and joint efforts would relieve, prompt­ly and effec­tive­ly, the urgent needs of the suf­fer­ings, by har­mo­niz­ing the require­ments of jus­tice with needs of char­i­ty. Relief alone can rem­e­dy, to a cer­tain extent, many unjust social con­di­tions. But we know that this is not suf­fi­cient. In the first place, there must be jus­tice, which should pre­vail and be put into practice.

Like­wise, from the first days of our Apos­tolic Office, we have direct­ed our earnest atten­tion to all our migrant sons, and we have been most anx­ious about their wel­fare, both tem­po­ral and eternal.

For this rea­son, on June 1, 1951 in a radio address on the fifti­eth anniver­sary of the Encycli­cal Rerum Novarum, we did speak of the right of peo­ple to migrate, which right is found­ed in the very nature of land.

Let us recall here a sec­tion of that address:

Our plan­et, with all its extent of oceans and was and lakes, with moun­tains and plains cov­ered with eter­nal snows and ice, with great deserts and trace­less lands, is not, at the same time, with­out hab­it­able regions and liv­ing spaces now aban­doned to wild nat­ur­al veg­e­ta­tion and well suit­ed to be cul­ti­vat­ed by man to sat­is­fy his needs and civ­il activ­i­ties: and more than once, it is inevitable that some fam­i­lies migrat­ing from one spot to anoth­er should go else­where in search of a new home-land.

Then,—according to the teach­ing of “Rerum Novarum,” —the right of the fam­i­ly to a liv­ing space is rec­og­nized. When this hap­pens, migra­tion attains its nat­ur­al scope as expe­ri­ence often shows. We mean, the more favor­able dis­tri­b­u­tion of men on the earth’s sur­face suit­able to colonies of agri­cul­tur­al work­ers; that sur­face which God cre­at­ed and pre­pared for the use of all.

If the two par­ties, those who agree to leave their native land and those who agree to admit the new­com­ers, remain anx­ious to elim­i­nate as far as pos­si­ble all obsta­cles to the birth and growth of real con­fi­dence between the coun­try of emi­gra­tion and that of immi­gra­tion, all those affect­ed by such trans­fer­ence of peo­ple and places will prof­it by the transaction.

The fam­i­lies will receive a plot of ground which will be native for them in the true sense of the ward; the thick­ly inhab­it­ed coun­tries will he relieved and their peo­ple will acquire new friends in for­eign coun­tries; and the States which receive the emi­grants will acquire indus­tri­ous cit­i­zens. In this receive the migrants will acquire indus­tri­ous cit­i­zens. In this way, the nations which give and those which receive will both con­tribute to the increased wel­fare of man and the progress of human culture.

We again recalled these gen­er­al prin­ci­ples of nat­ur­al law the fol­low­ing year on Christ­mas Eve before the Sacred Col­lege of Cardinals.

We wrote specif­i­cal­ly on this sub­ject in a let­ter of Decem­ber 24, 1948 to the Amer­i­can Bishops:

You know indeed how pre­oc­cu­pied we have been and with what anx­i­ety we have fol­lowed those who have been forced by rev­o­lu­tions in their own coun­tries, or by unem­ploy­ment or hunger to leave their homes and live in for­eign lands.

The nat­ur­al law itself, no less than devo­tion to human­i­ty, urges that ways of migra­tion be opened to these peo­ple. For the Cre­ator of the uni­verse made all good things pri­mar­i­ly for the good of all. Since land every­where offers the pos­si­bil­i­ty of sup­port­ing a large num­ber of peo­ple, the sov­er­eign­ty of the State, although it must be respect­ed, can­not be exag­ger­at­ed to the point that access to this land is, for inad­e­quate or unjus­ti­fied rea­sons, denied to needy and decent peo­ple from oth­er nations, pro­vid­ed of course, that the pub­lic wealth, con­sid­ered very care­ful­ly, does not for­bid this.

Informed of our inten­tions, you recent­ly strove for leg­is­la­tion to allow many refugees to enter your land. Through your per­sis­tence, a prov­i­dent law was enact­ed, a law that we hope will be fol­lowed by oth­ers of broad­er scope. In addi­tion, you have, with the aid of cho­sen men, cared for the emi­grants as they left their homes and as they arrived in your land, thus admirably putting into prac­tice the pre­cept of priest­ly char­i­ty: “The priest is to injure no one; he will desire rather to aid all.” (St. Ambrose, “De Offici­is min­istro­rum,” lib. 3, c. IX).

But no one who has heard our words, whether in our Christ­mas Address of 1945,116 or in our allo­cu­tion of Feb­ru­ary 20, 1946 to the new­ly cre­at­ed car­di­nals, and in our address on the 25th of Feb­ru­ary to the Diplo­mat­ic Corps accred­it­ed to the Holy See, cer­tain­ly, no one can be unaware of the grave con­cern grip­ping the heart of the wor­ried father of all the faithful.

In these address­es and in our radio talks, we have con­demned severe­ly the ideas of the total­i­tar­i­an and the impe­ri­al­is­tic state, as well as that of exag­ger­at­ed nation­al­ism. On one hand, in fact they arbi­trar­i­ly restrict the nat­ur­al rights of peo­ple to migrate or to col­o­nize while on the oth­er hand, they com­pel entire pop­u­la­tions to migrate into oth­er lands, deport­ing inhab­i­tants against their wills, dis­grace­ful­ly tear­ing indi­vid­u­als from their fam­i­lies, their homes and their countries.

In that address to the Diplo­mat­ic Corps, in the pres­ence of a solemn gath­er­ing, we again affirmed our desire, often pre­vi­ous­ly expressed, for a just and last­ing peace. We point­ed out anoth­er way of attain­ing this peace, a way that pro­motes friend­ly rela­tions between nations; that is, to allow exiles and refugess to return final­ly to their homes and to allow those in need, whose own lands lack the neces­si­ties of life, to emi­grate to oth­er countries.

In our allo­cu­tion to the car­di­nals on the feast of our patron, St. Eugene, on July 1, 1946, we again called upon the nations with more exten­sive ter­ri­to­ry and less numer­ous pop­u­la­tions to open their bor­ders to peo­ple from over-crowd­ed coun­tries. Of the lat­ter, as is well known, Japan today hap­pens to be the most over­pop­u­lat­ed one.

We expressed the same view in our Christ­mas Address of 1948. It is bet­ter, we said, to facil­i­tate the migra­tion of fam­i­lies into those coun­tries able to pro­vide them with the essen­tials of life, than to send food­stuffs at great expense to refugee camps.

There­fore, when Sen­a­tors from the Unit­ed States, who were mem­bers of a Com­mit­tee on Immi­gra­tion, vis­it­ed Rome a few years ago, we again urged them to try to admin­is­ter as lib­er­al­ly as pos­si­ble the over­ly restric­tive pro­vi­sions of their immi­gra­tion laws.

Nor did we neglect to state and urge this same prin­ci­ple in an audi­ence to which we were pleased to admit also emi­nent Amer­i­can Con­gress­men in charge of Euro­pean refugee affairs l and who were like­wise mem­bers of a Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Expen­di­tures. We reaf­firmed that stand very recent­ly, on June 4th of this year, in our pater­nal address to our dear peo­ple of Brazil.

In an address of July 2, 1951, to the mem­bers of an Inter­na­tion­al Catholic Con­gress for the Improve­ment of Rur­al Liv­ing Con­di­tions, held in Rome, we said that there would be very great ben­e­fits from inter­na­tion­al reg­u­la­tions in favor of emi­gra­tion and immigration.

Lat­er, we described the grav­i­ty of this mat­ter to many dis­tin­guished mem­bers of an Inter­na­tion­al Catholic Migra­tion Con­gress, held in Naples, whom we glad­ly received in audience.

We there­fore offer end­less thanks to God, the Boun­ti­ful Giv­er of every good gift, Who has most gen­er­ous­ly assist­ed His Holy Church. In fact it has been because of His aid and with the effec­tive co-oper­a­tion and ini­tia­tive of all com­mis­sions and agen­cies, that it has been pos­si­ble to car­ry out among oth­er endeav­ors, the fol­low­ing relief and wel­fare projects:

Set­tle­ments for boys and girls, some open dur­ing the sum­mer months and some per­ma­nent­ly, which set­tle­ments also accept­ed chil­dren of immi­grants from many dif­fer­ent nations, wel­com­ing them with great care; insti­tutes to care for orphans and chil­dren crip­pled in the war; kitchens and tables with food for the needy; shel­ters for receiv­ing new­ly-released pris­on­ers and refugees on their return to their home­land, and for assist­ing migrants and their fam­i­lies; Christ­mas presents giv­en on our instruc­tions to chil­dren and prisoners.

Pro­vi­sion was made for youths from every nation so that, although they were far from their native lands, they could resume in for­eign schools the stud­ies they had ear­li­er been forced to drop. Like­wise, there were under­tak­en many trips through var­i­ous Euro­pean nations to bring aid, food, cloth­ing, med­i­cine for the poor and vic­tims of the war; recre­ation cen­ters for sol­diers far from home.

While the dis­as­trous war waged, there con­verged on Rome almost hourly a vast mass of peo­ple, chil­dren, women, the sick and the aged, to seek from the com­mon father of all, a place of safe­ty and refuge. They came from the towns and vil­lages laid waste by the invad­ing ene­mies, par­tic­u­lar­ly from dev­as­tat­ed areas of Italy. This caused us to enlarge, yet fur­ther, the scope of our char­i­ty, for the cries of so many exiles and refugees touched our heart, and, moved by that same pity, we felt the need to repeat those words of Our Lord: “I have com­pas­sion on the multitude.”

For this rea­son, we threw open the doors of all our build­ings at the Vat­i­can as well as at the Lat­er­an, and espe­cial­ly those at Cas­tel Gan­dol­fo; and at the Roman Basil­i­cas, as well as these reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties, sem­i­nar­ies and eccle­si­as­ti­cal col­leges of Rome. So while almost the whole world was aflame with bit­ter hatred and the blood of broth­ers flowed freely, the Sacred City of Rome and the build­ings men­tioned became cen­ters and homes of charity.

It was also our priv­i­lege to bring com­fort to mil­lions of sol­diers and pris­on­ers by means of reli­gious and char­i­ta­ble under­tak­ings and to encour­age, as well, their chap­lains with extra­or­di­nary spir­i­tu­al aids; it was, like­wise, our priv­i­lege to bring those who had been exiled back to their own lands and to obtain free­dom for civil­ians con­demned unjust­ly to prison or exile; again to release from prison and res­cue from almost cer­tain death those peo­ple deport­ed to remote regions, and to return them to their anx­ious families.

It was our priv­i­lege to assure the means of trav­el to refugees and migrants about to migrate to hos­pitable for­eign lands; to receive cor­dial­ly those ban­ished cler­ics and priests who endured so much for the Apos­tolic Faith and Catholic Uni­ty, and to assign them a new field of apos­tolic labor among migrants and refugees from their own nations; to relieve, in every way, great num­bers of migrants, and espe­cial­ly labor­ers dwelling out­side their home­lands because of their work; to nour­ish and pro­tect the del­i­cate lives of chil­dren and to attend to the heal­ing of the sick; to pro­vide for the bur­ial of those fall­en in bat­tle, to guard their revered remains and to return them to their homelands.

We wish also to express our thanks to all those who, even though they were besieged by many pri­vate and pub­lic trou­bles, respond­ed gen­er­ous­ly to our appeals.

Even now, it is with an aching heart that we recall the great mass­es of refugees who poured into Rome while the war raged. And we recall our unfor­tu­nate sons, exiles or internees who, as pil­grims to Rome, lat­er set out from many regions of Europe to win expi­a­to­ry indul­gences of the Jubilee. We were very hap­py to receive them and addressed them as a father. We dis­pelled their tears and com­fort­ed their embit­tered spir­its with Chris­t­ian hope.

With griev­ing heart we recall, again and again, our very dear sons, the bish­ops, priests, and nuns dragged unjust­ly from their homes and all those oth­ers who, con­demned to prison or forced labor, have been kept in absolute­ly inhu­man liv­ing conditions.

All these hap­less wan­der­ers have been an unceas­ing source of anguish to us.

In order that these uproot­ed peo­ples might be renewed through heav­en­ly gifts and com­forts, we have prayed ardent­ly and con­tin­u­ous­ly in their behalf to the Eter­nal Father and to Our Most Lov­ing Redeemer, Source of every con­so­la­tion. We still beseech God con­stant­ly that “the refugees, the pris­on­ers and the deport­ed who have been car­ried far from their native lands may return to their own beloved coun­tries as soon as possible.”

We believe we ful­filled an urgent duty of our office when we appoint­ed cer­tain prelates, dis­tin­guished by their zeal, to advance the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of peo­ple of their nation­al­i­ty liv­ing in set­tle­ments far from their native land. By rea­son of their author­i­ty, they were to direct and sup­port every­thing that was to be under­tak­en in behalf of the set­tlers by priests of their native lan­guage. We were hap­py to see how these prelates, whom we invest­ed with a spe­cial man­date as Vis­i­tors and pro­vid­ed with appro­pri­ate pow­ers, have faith-ful­ly ful­filled our hopes.

Mean­while, it was with pro­found sat­is­fac­tion that we learned of the work of the Dutch Catholic Agency for the Care of Migrants. This insti­tu­tion, estab­lished by the Bish­ops of Hol­land, has worked very suc­cess­ful­ly on behalf of Catholics prepar­ing to emi­grate or those who had already emi­grat­ed from that coun­try. We were equal­ly hap­py to find that a grow­ing num­ber of priests went abroad, espe­cial­ly to Bel­gium, France, Ger­many, Switzer­land, Hol­land, Great Britain and also dis­tant regions of Amer­i­ca; not only to assist emi­grants of their nation­al­i­ty, but also to toil in behalf of the poor in places where there is a scarci­ty of priests as in cer­tain Latin Amer­i­can dioceses.

We must hon­or by spe­cial men­tion the Bish­ops of Italy who, at the prompt­ing of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion,’” per­mit­ted a num­ber of priests to leave their coun­try. Also wor­thy of hon­or are the Span­ish Bish­ops, for the His­pano-Amer­i­can Insti­tute for priest­ly co-oper­a­tion is due to their efforts.

Lest any­one think that the reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties made only a small con­tri­bu­tion to this work, it is enough sim­ply to recall that Order priests vol­un­tar­i­ly became com­pan­ions of the sec­u­lar priests and of the bish­ops in their suf­fer­ings and labors. They have gone, more than in the past, into remote regions and, work­ing with their usu­al ardor, have earned high praise.

Along with the old­er Orders and the reg­u­lar cler­ics, and the new­er con­gre­ga­tions and com­mu­ni­ties, a new Soci­ety, approved by the Holy See, has also dis­tin­guished itself in this branch of the apos­to­late. This is the Soci­ety of Christ, found­ed in the arch­dio­cese of Gniezno in 1932, for the spir­i­tu­al care of Poles liv­ing abroad.

In our con­stant solic­i­tude for East­ern refugees, we have among oth­er things erect­ed the Maronite Patri­ar­chal Vic­ari­ate in the Dio­cese of Cairo for Maronite Catholics, who often migrate from Lebanon into Egypt or else live there permanently.

In Cana­da, we divid­ed the Ruthen­ian province into three provinces or exar­chates; the cen­tral, east­ern and west­ern. Lat­er, a part of the cen­tral province was divid­ed off and estab­lished as the new province of Saskatchewan. Very recent­ly, we like­wise erect­ed a dio­cese in Brazil for Catholics of Ori­en­tal Rite liv­ing in that country.

We also estab­lished the Lithuan­ian Col­lege of St. Casimir in Bonne for refugee bish­ops and priests from Lithuania.

We were very hap­py to appoint St. Fran­cis of Paula heav­en­ly patron of asso­ci­a­tions ded­i­cat­ed to the ser­vice of sea­men, of nav­i­ga­tion com­pa­nies and of all sailors of Italy. We were like­wise glad to can­on­ize St. Frances Xavier Cabri­ni and pro­claim her as the heav­en­ly patroness of all migrants.

These time­ly projects have seemed alto­geth­er worth not­ing here. Ini­ti­at­ed by this Apos­tolic See, they were under­tak­en by the bish­ops with the eager co-oper­a­tion of priests, mem­bers of reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties and lay­men. The names of these col­lab­o­ra­tors, although, for the most part, not record­ed in his­to­ry books, are nev­er­the­less writ­ten in heav­en. Again, these works have appeared worth recount­ing here, if only briefly, so that the uni­ver­sal and benev­o­lent activ­i­ty of the Church on behalf of migrants and exiles of every kind—to whom she has extend­ed every pos­si­ble aid: reli­gious, moral and social,—might thus become bet­ter appreciated.

Besides, it seemed that these things bad­ly need­ed to be pub­li­cized, espe­cial­ly in our times, when the prov­i­dent enter­pris­es of Moth­er Church are so unjust­ly assailed by her enimies and scorned and over­looked, even in the very field of char­i­ty where she was first to break ground and often the only to con­tin­ue its cultivation.

Fre­quent let­ters, which we have recent­ly received, report, as can be read every day in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines, that the num­ber of immi­grants in Europe and Amer­i­ca, and late­ly in Aus­tralia and the Philip­pine Islands, has con­tin­ued to increase.

True, many organizations—including a num­ber of offi­cial agen­cies, both nation­al and international—have vied and still vie with one anoth­er in assist­ing migrants, reliev­ing moral as well as mate­r­i­al want. Nev­er­the­less, because of our supreme and uni­ver­sal min­istry, we must con­tin­ue to look with the great­est love after our sons who are caught in the tri­als and mis­for­tunes of exile, and to strive with all our resources to help them. While we do not neglect what­ev­er mate­r­i­al assis­tance is per­mit­ted, we seek pri­mar­i­ly to aid them with spir­i­tu­al consolation.

Moved by their desire for the good of souls, many of our ven­er­a­ble broth­ers, the bish­ops and arch­bish­ops, includ­ing a num­ber of car­di­nals have urged us to pub­lish new reg­u­la­tions to bet­ter orga­nize, for dioce­san admin­is­tra­tion, the spir­i­tu­al care of immi­grants. Their requests were direct­ed to us through our ven­er­a­ble broth­er, Car­di­nal A. C. Piaz­za, Bish­op of Sabi­na and Pog­gio Mirte­to, and Sec­re­tary of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.

These requests were in full accord with our own inten­tions. In fact, we were eager­ly await­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty to draw up suit­able reg­u­la­tions for the bish­ops, to pro­vide them with prop­er author­i­ty to offer aliens, whether immi­grants or trav­ellers, the reli­gious assis­tance appropi­ate to their needs, and not infe­ri­or to that avail­able to oth­er Catholics in the dio­ce­ses. These reg­u­la­tions were not to con­flict with the pro­vi­sions of the Code of Canon Law, but rather to con­form faith­ful­ly both to its spir­it and practice.

We thought it would be very use­ful for the sal­va­tion of souls and for the improve­ment of the Church’s dis­ci­pline to present a brief his­tor­i­cal sum­ma­ry of at least the most impor­tant activ­i­ties of our Holy Moth­er the Catholic Church on behalf of migrants. We have also out­lined, start­ing with the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry and com­ing down to our own days, some of the reg­u­la­tions, still in force, gov­ern­ing pas­toral work among migrants.

But most of all, we thought it impor­tant to arrange in a sys­tem­at­ic col­lec­tion the rel­e­vant laws as adapt­ed to present times and cir­cum­stances, while the old rules are either annulled in part or mod­i­fied or expand­ed. We hope, in this way, to make bet­ter pro­vi­sion for the spir­i­tu­al care of all emi­grants and aliens. We wish this care to be entrust­ed per­ma­nent­ly to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tions because of its author­i­ty over Catholics of the Latin rite.

Hav­ing accom­plished the first part of this plan, we now pro­ceed to the sec­ond part.

Title II

Norms for The Spir­i­tu­al Care of Migrants 



We now review, approve and con­firm the enact­ments of our pre­de­ces­sors of hap­py mem­o­ry, and espe­cial­ly those of St. Pius X; at the same time how­ev­er, we mod­i­fy them some­what, as seems nec­es­sary. We here­by wish and decree that the fol­low­ing rules be observed in the future.

  1. a) The Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion alone has the author­i­ty to seek and to pro­vide every­thing per­tain­ing to the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of migrants of the Latin rite, where­so­ev­er they may have migrat­ed. How­ev­er, if their migra­tion is to coun­tries under the juris­dic­tion of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church, or the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Propaga­tion of the Faith, then these Con­gre­ga­tions must be con­sult­ed depend­ing upon the region.
  2. b) It is like­wise with­in the com­pe­tence of the Con­sistorial Con­greation to seek and to pro­vide, in like man­ner, for emi­grants of the Ori­en­tal rite, when­ev­er emi­grants of one or anoth­er Ori­en­tal rite leave for areas which are not under the juris­dic­tion of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church, and where no priests of such rite are avail­able, but in all cas­es pre­vi­ous con­sul­ta­tion must be tak­en up with the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church.
  3. a) When­ev­er priests of the Latin rite migrate it is always the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion alone which has juris. dic­tion over them.
  4. b) If the priests of the Latin rite sub­ject to the Con­gregation for the Ori­en­tal Church or the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Faith desire to migrate into an area not under juris­dic­tion of the same Con­gre­ga­tion, they also will be sub­ject to the reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing such migra­tion, made or to be made by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, with-out prej­u­dice of the rights of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church or for the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Faith.
  5. c) These same reg­u­la­tions are bind­ing on priests of the Ori­en­tal rite migrat­ing into areas not under the juris­diction of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church, like­wise with­out prej­u­dice to the laws and rights of this same Con­gre­ga­tion for the Ori­en­tal Church.
  6. a) 1. The Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion alone can autho­rize priests to migrate from Europe or Mediter­ranean regions to oth­er lands over­seas. This applies regard­less of any length of time they wish to be gone, whether it be brief or long, indef­i­nite or per­ma­nent. Such autho­riza­tion may be mere­ly for depar­ture or for a brief res­i­dence in the new coun­try, or for a more pro­longed res­i­dence there.
  7. Nun­cios, Inter­nun­cios and Apos­tolic Del­e­gates may grant this per­mis­sion to priests of that nation where they reg­u­lar­ly ful­fill their assign­ments, pro­vid­ed that this fac­ul­ty has been grant­ed and reserved to them.
  8. b) 1. The priests referred to in a) 1. must obtain per­mis­sion and com­ply with all oth­er reg­u­la­tions before being incar­di­nat­ed into the new dio­cese overseas.
  9. This per­mis­sion is also nec­es­sary for reli­gious priests unless it is a mat­ter of their going, on orders of their supe­ri­ors, to anoth­er house of their order. Sim­i­lar­ly, reli­gious exclois­tered need it, dur­ing the time of their exclaus­tra­tion; also, reli­gious who have been “sec­u­lar­ized,” whether they have been accept­ed out­right by a friend­ly bish­op or sim­ply on a tri­al basis.
  10. c) This per­mis­sion, with­out prej­u­dice to the oth­er require­ments of the decree Mag­ni Sem­per Negotii, is not to be grant­ed unless it is cer­tain that there are:
  11. The tes­ti­mo­ni­als of good con­duct of the petitioner;
  12. a prop­er and rea­son­able motive for migration;
  13. con­sent both of the bish­op of the place he is leav­ing, or of his supe­ri­or in the case of a reli­gious, and of the bish­op to whose dio­cese he is going;
  14. an indult from the Con­gre­ga­tion of the Coun­cil, if it is a case of a pas­tor to be absent more than two months from his parish.
  15. d) Priests, whether sec­u­lar or reli­gious, who have obtained per­mis­sion to migrate to an over­seas coun­try, must obtain new per­mis­sion if they wish to go to still anoth­er coun­try, even in that same continent.
  16. e) Priests who, dis­re­gard­ing these rules, heed­less­ly and bold­ly migrate, shall incur the penal­ties of the decree Mag­ni Sem­per Negotii.
  17. An apos­tolic indult to estab­lish spe­cial nation­al­i­ty parish­es for the ben­e­fit of immi­grants can, accord­ing to Canon 216, 4 of the Code of Canon Law, be grant­ed only by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.
  18. a) It is like­wise the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion which has the right:
  19. After first review­ing the applicant’s pre­vi­ous life, morals and fit­ness, and mak­ing sure of the Ordinary’s con­sent, then to grant per­mis­sion to priests, whether they be sec­u­lar or reli­gious who now desire to ded­i­cate them­selves to the reli­gious care of migrants of their own nation­al­i­ty or lan­guage, or to the care of peo­ple who may be trav­el­ling by sea or who, for many rea­sons, may be aboard ships or who are attached to ships, in what­ev­er capac­i­ty. Like­wise, the said Con­gre­ga­tion has the right to appoint, by spe­cial rescript, priests as mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants or as chap­lains aboard ships; sim­i­lar­ly, to assign their des­ti­na­tions, to trans­fer them, to accept their res­ig­na­tions, and in a prop­er case, to dis­miss them.
  20. To choose and appoint in any nation Mod­er­a­tors or Direc­tors of Mis­sion­ar­ies for migrants of the same nation­al­i­ty or language.
  21. Eligere ac con­stituere Mod­er­a­tores seu Direc­tores cap­pel­lano­rum nav­i­gan­tium; (from the Vatican’s text of the orig­nal Latin. No trans­la­tion available.)
  22. To direct and super­vise all these priests, whether through the local Ordi­nar­ies or the Del­e­gate for Migra­tion Affairs, or oth­er eccle­si­as­tics del­e­gat­ed for this task.
  23. b) 1. If the rescript men­tioned in a) 1. is grant­ed, notice must be sent to both the Ordi­nar­ies, the Ordi­nary from whom and the Ordi­nary to whom the priest is going.
  24. The Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion must not delay in noti­fy­ing bish­ops of the appoint­ments of mod­er­a­tors or direc­tors for their nations or territories.
  25. a) We approve with our author­i­ty the spe­cial com­mit­tees or epis­co­pal com­mis­sions set up in many Euro­pean and Amer­i­can coun­tries for the spir­i­tu­al aid of migrants, and wish that these time­ly com­mit­tees be set up also in oth­er areas. We have, there­fore, decid­ed that the priests appoint­ed by Bish­ops to serve as Sec­re­taries of these com­mit­tees may be named Direc­tors of Migra­tion Affairs, each for his own coun­try, by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.
  26. b) Where this type of com­mit­tee has not yet been estab­lished, the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion may choose a direc­tor from among the priests pre­sent­ed by the Bish­ops of the country.
  27. a) In order to facil­i­tate the work of assist­ing emi­grants, we here­by estab­lish and insti­tute, in the offices of our Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, a Supreme Coun­cil on Migration.
  28. b) The pres­i­dent of this Coun­cil will be the Asses­sor of the same Con­gre­ga­tion. Its sec­re­tary will be the Del­e­gate for Migra­tion Affairs.
  29. c) The fol­low­ing may be mem­bers of this Council;
  30. Those priests who in their own coun­try or region either serve as sec­re­taries of the epis­co­pal com­mis­sions for the spir­i­tu­al care of immi­grants or are oth­er­wise engaged, at the direc­tion of their bish­ops, in this type of spir­i­tu­al care.
  31. Those priests, whether sec­u­lar or reg­u­lar, res­i­dent in Rome who seem out­stand­ing because of their knowl­edge of this field and their zeal for souls.
  32. a) We also estab­lish with­in the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gregation anoth­er agency, the Gen­er­al Inter­na­tion­al Sec­re­tari­ate, to direct the work of the Apos­to­late of the Sea. The chief work of this Apos­to­late is to pro­mote the spir­i­tu­al and moral wel­fare of mar­itime peo­ple, that is, of both those who board ships as offi­cers and those who go as crew mem­bers, togeth­er with those who are employed in ports to pre­pare railings.
  33. b) The Asses­sor of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion shall direct this Sec­re­tari­ate as its pres­i­dent. The Del­e­gate for Migra­tion Affairs shall be its secretary.
  34. c) The fol­low­ing may be cho­sen as mem­bers of the Seeretariate:
  35. Those eccle­si­as­tics who in each coun­try have been appoint­ed as Direc­tors of such work by the bishops.
  36. Oth­er priests who, hav­ing worked notably in the devel­op­ment of this work, are rec­om­mend­ed by prop­er testimonials.



  1. We estab­lish in the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion the Office of Del­e­gate for Migra­tion Affairs.
  2. a) The func­tion of this Del­e­gate is to fos­ter and pro­mote by every apt means the wel­fare, espe­cial­ly spir­i­tu­al, of Catholic migrants of what­ev­er lan­guage, race, nation­al­i­ty or, with nec­es­sary excep­tions, rite. In doing this, the Del­e­gate is to con­fer, when nec­es­sary, with our Sec­re­tary of State or with gov­ern­ment offi­cials or agencies.
  3. b) To this end, the Del­e­gate is, in the name and by author­i­ty of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, to assist and sup­port by his activ­i­ties and coun­sel all Catholic orga­ni­za­tions, insti­tu­tions and agen­cies, whether nation­al or inter-nation­al, including—without prej­u­dice to the rights of bishops—diocesan and parochial groups that aim at the same goal.
  4. a) The Del­e­gate has charge of mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants and chap­lains on ships, whether sec­u­lar or reg­u­lar, and their directors.
  5. b) He shall, by order of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congrega­tion, direct and super­vise these men, and not neglect to report on them.
  6. It will also be the duty of the Del­e­gate to recruit and present to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion priests who wish to devote them­selves to the spir­i­tu­al care of those who are migrat­ing or have migrat­ed and of those who ply the seas or are for what­ev­er rea­son on board ships or ser­vice them.
  7. a) Priests approved for the work and appoint­ed mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants or ship chap­lains by rescript of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion will be assigned to a mis­sion or to a spe­cial ship by the Delegate.
  8. b) The Del­e­gate shall be care­ful to pro­vide these men with aid they need, whether he does so per­son­al­ly and imme­di­ate­ly, or indi­rect­ly through oth­er eccle­si­as­tics, prefer­ably through their Directors.
  9. The Del­e­gate shall noti­fy the local Ordi­nar­ies and the Direc­tors of the immi­nent arrival of immigrants.
  10. The Del­e­gate shall strive to pro­mote and guide every­thing that might con­tribute to the suc­cess of an annu­al Migrant Day.
  11. At the end of each year, the Del­e­gate shall pre­pare and send to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion a report on the mate­r­i­al and spir­i­tu­al state of the mis­sions and on the obser­vance of eccle­si­as­ti­cal dis­ci­pline by the mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants and by ship chaplains.
  12. a) We, there­fore, abol­ish and here­by declare sup­pressed the Office of Prelate for Ital­ian Emigrants.
  13. b) We like­wise declare com­plete­ly at an end the func­tions of the Vis­i­tors or Del­e­gates of what­ev­er lan­guage or nation­al­i­ty, pre­vi­ous­ly estab­lished for the reli­gious wel­fare of immi­grants and refugees liv­ing in Europe and America.



  1. a) The mis­sion­ar­ies to emi­grants and chap­lains aboard ships and their direc­tors will car­ry on theft work under the direc­tion of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion and its Del­e­gate for Migra­tion Affairs.
  2. b) Nei­ther the office of mis­sion­ary to migrants nor of ship chap­lains, nor that of direc­tor effect excar­di­na­tion from a dio­cese. Nor do they offer exemp­tion either from one’s own Ordi­nary or reli­gious Supe­ri­or, or from the Ordi­nary of the place in which the work of the mis­sion­ary or chap­lain is done.
  3. Direc­tors of mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants and ship chap­lains have, by virtue of their office, no juris­dic­tion, either ter­ri­to­r­i­al or per­son­al, except that described below.
  4. The rights and duties of a Direc­tor are chiefly:
  5. a) To make arrange­ments with the bish­ops of the nation or ter­ri­to­ry in which the mis­sion­ar­ies main­tain a set­tled res­i­dence, with respect to all those fac­tors that con­cern the spir­i­tu­al wel­fare of immi­grants of their nation­al­i­ty or language.
  6. b) To direct, with­out prej­u­dice to the rights of the Ordi­nar­ies, the mis­sion­ar­ies or chaplains.
  7. a) The Direc­tor should there­fore investigate:
  8. Whether the mis­sion­ar­ies or chap­lains lead a life in con­for­mi­ty with the stan­dards of the sacred canons and are care­ful to ful­fill their duties.
  9. Whether these men prop­er­ly car­ry out the decrees of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion and of their local Ordinary.
  10. Whether they pre­serve care­ful­ly the deco­rum and dig­ni­ty of church­es or chapels or ora­to­ries and of sacred fur­nish­ings, espe­cial­ly in regards to the cus­tody of the Most Blessed Sacra­ment and the cel­e­bra­tion of Mass.
  11. Whether the sacred rites are cel­e­brat­ed accord­ing to require­ments of litur­gi­cal laws and decrees of the Con­gre­ga­tion of Rites. Sim­i­lar­ly, whether the church rev­enues are care­ful­ly admin­is­tered, and the oblig­a­tions con­nect­ed with them, par­tic­u­lar­ly those of Mass, are prop­er­ly met. Also whether the parochial records, men­tioned below in No. 25 c) and No. 35 b), are cor­rect­ly writ­ten and preserved.
  12. b) To assure him­self of all this, the Direc­tor must vis­it the mis­sions or ships frequently.
  13. c) It is also up to the Direc­tor, as soon as he learns that a mis­sion­ary or chap­lain is seri­ous­ly ill, to pro­vide assis­tance, so that nei­ther spir­i­tu­al nor mate­r­i­al aid will be lack­ing, nor, in case of death, a decent funer­al. He must also take care that dur­ing the priest’s sick­ness or on his death the records, doc­u­ments, sacred fur­nish­ings and oth­er mis­sion prop­er­ty are not lost or car­ried off.
  14. The Direc­tor may, where pos­si­ble and for good rea­sons approved by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, bring all the mis­sion­ar­ies or chap­lains togeth­er, espe­cial­ly in order to make a retreat or to attend con­fer­ences on the best meth­ods for car­ry­ing on their ministry.
  15. At least once a year, the Direc­tor shall send an accu­rate report to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion on the mis­sion­ar­ies and chap­lains, and on the state of the mis­sions. He is to recount not only the good accom­plished dur­ing the year, but also the evils that have crept in, what mea­sures have been tak­en to obvi­ate them and what seems nec­es­sary to pro­mote the growth of the missions.
  16. Mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants engaged in the spir­i­tu­al care of Catholics of their own nation­al­i­ty or lan­guage come under the juris­dic­tion of the local Ordi­nary, accord­ing to the norms of Chap­ter IV below.
  17. a) It is the duty of the chap­lains aboard ships to attend, through­out the voy­age, to the spir­i­tu­al care of all those who, for what­ev­er rea­son hap­pen to be aboard. The only excep­tion would be in the case of marriage.
  18. b) The chap­lains will be giv­en, with­out prej­u­dice to the pro­vi­sion of Canon 883 of the Code of Canon Law, spe­cial rules and fac­ul­ties by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.
  19. c) They must keep a record of bap­tisms, confirma­tions and deaths. At the end of each trip they are to send their Direc­tor a copy of this record, togeth­er with a report of their work done on that trip.
  20. If there is a chapel legit­i­mate­ly erect­ed on the ship, the chap­lains shall, with due allowances, be deemed equiva­lent to rec­tors of churches.
  21. a) Chap­lains may cel­e­brate the Divine Ser­vices, even solemn­ly, in the chapel aboard ship as long as they observe the canon­i­cal and litur­gi­cal laws and are care­ful to hold the ser­vices at a con­ve­nient time for all on board.
  22. b) The chap­lains are to:
  23. Announce feast days to those on board.
  24. Give cat­e­chet­i­cal instruc­tions, espe­cial­ly to the young peo­ple, and an expla­na­tion of the Gospel.
  25. Chap­lains on ships are to watch:
  26. a) That in the chapel, the Divine Ser­vices are cel­e­brat­ed prop­er­ly accord­ing to the pre­scrip­tion of the sacred canons and that priests cel­e­brat­ing Mass be assist­ed by anoth­er priest if there is one, vest­ed in a sur­plice, in order to avoid the dan­ger of spilling the Sacred Species from the chalice.
  27. b) That the sacred fur­nish­ings are kept up and the deco­rum of the chapel looked after; that noth­ing be done there incom­pat­i­ble, in any way, with the holi­ness of the place or the rev­er­ence due the House of God, and that nei­ther the chapel nor the altar nor the sacred vest­ments be used at the ser­vice of non-Catholic sects.
  28. a) No one may cel­e­brate Mass, admin­is­ter the sacra­ments, preach, or per­form oth­er divine func­tions in the ship’s chapel, with­out the per­mis­sion, at least pre­sumed, of the chaplain.
  29. b) This per­mis­sion must be grant­ed or refused accord­ing to the ordi­nary rules of the canon law.
  30. The right to erect and bless a chapel on ship belongs to the Ordi­nary of the place in which the home port of the ship is located.
  31. Mis­sion­ar­ies and chap­lains may, with the con­sent of the Direc­tor, and the Supe­ri­or in case of a reli­gious, be absent from their mis­sion or ship for any one month with­in the same year, pro­vid­ed the needs of emi­grants or sea­men be met by a priest who has the prop­er rescript from the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion. Direc­tors, who must obtain the autho­riza­tion of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, and if they are reli­gious, of their Supe­ri­or, are grant­ed this same priv­i­lege, pro­vid­ed they can find a priest approved by the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion to sub­sti­tute for them.



  1. Local Ordi­nar­ies are to pro­vide for the spir­i­tu­al care of aliens of every sort, whether they have a qua­si-domi­cile or they have no domi­cile at all. When­ev­er, in this min­istry it seems for one rea­son or anoth­er inex­pe­di­ent to apply to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion for per­mis­sion to estab­lish parish­es for var­i­ous lan­guage or nation­al­i­ty groups, local Ordi­nar­ies are in the future to observe care­ful­ly the fol­low­ing rules:
  2. Every local Ordi­nary is to make an earnest effort to entrust the spir­i­tu­al care of aliens or immi­grants to priests, whether sec­u­lar or reg­u­lar, of the same lan­guage or nation­al­i­ty, i.e., to mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants who have, as stat­ed above, a spe­cial license from the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.
  3. In like man­ner, after con­sul­ta­tion with the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, and hav­ing observed all oth­er require­ments of law, every local Ordi­nary shall try to grant these mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants the author­i­ty to under­take the spir­i­tu­al care of immi­grant Catholics of their own lan­guage or nation­al­i­ty with no canon­i­cal qua­si-domi­cile or with­out any canon­i­cal domicile.
  4. a) A mis­sion­ary to migrants, sup­plied with such author­i­ty in exer­cis­ing the care of souls, is to be con­sid­ered equal to a pas­tor. He there­fore pos­sess­es, mak­ing due allowances, the same fac­ul­ties for the spir­i­tu­al care as a pas­tor and is bound by the same oblig­a­tions and held to the require­ments of the com­mon law.
  5. b) They must there­fore in the first place, keep the parish records men­tioned in Canon 470 of the Code of Canon Law. An accu­rate copy must be sent at the end of each year to the pas­tor of the place and to his Director.
  6. a) Parochial author­i­ty of this type is per­son­al, to be exer­cised over aliens or immigrants.
  7. b) This same author­i­ty is cumu­la­tive on equal terms with that of the pas­tor of the place, even if it is exer­cised in a church or chapel or pub­lic or semi-pub­lic ora­to­ry, entrust­ed to the mis­sion­ary to migrants.
  8. a) Wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, every mis­sion­ary to migrants is to be assigned a church, chapel or pub­lic or semi-pub­lic ora­to­ry for car­ry­ing on the sacred ministry.
  9. b) Oth­er­wise, the Ordi­nary of the place shall set up reg­u­la­tions to enable the mis­sion­ary to migrants freely and com­plete­ly to ful­fill his duties in anoth­er church, not exclud­ing the parish church.
  10. Mis­sion­ar­ies to migrants are, while in this work, com­plete­ly sub­ject to the juris­dic­tion of the local Ordi­nary, both with respect to the exer­cise of the sacred min­istry and with respect to dis­ci­pline, exclud­ing every priv­i­lege of exemption.
  11. For receiv­ing the Sacra­ments, includ­ing mar­riage, every alien, whether with canon­i­cal qua­si-domi­cile or with-out any canon­i­cal domi­cile is free to approach a mis­sion­ary to migrants or the pas­tor of the place.
  12. For the pur­pose under dis­cus­sions, under the des­ig­na­tion of immi­grants with no canon­i­cal qua­si-domi­cile (adve­nae) or with­out any canon­i­cal domi­cile (pere­gri­ni) are included:
  13. All aliens—not exclud­ing those who migrate from colonies—who for what­ev­er length of time or what­ev­er rea­son, includ­ing stud­ies, are in a for­eign land.
  14. Their direct descen­dants of the first degree of the direct line even though they have acquired the rights of citizenship.



  1. Since migra­tion has been more com­mon among Ital­ians than oth­er peo­ples, the Holy See has been espe­cial­ly active in car­ing for Ital­ian migrants. We, by this Apos­tolic Let­ter, con­firm those spe­cial reg­u­la­tions drawn up by our pre­de­ces­sors with regard to Ital­ians emi­grat­ing to for­eign coun­tries, and warm­ly com­mend those norms to the zeal, well known to us, of Ital­ian Ordi­nar­ies. We take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to urge these local Ordi­nar­ies earnest­ly to ful­fill our wishes.
  2. Let them keep in mind, as a rule in under­tak­ing and accom­plish­ing this work, those words with which St. Pius X praised the com­mit­tees and agen­cies: “There are in Italy, at the ser­vice of migrants, numer­ous com­mit­tees, as they are called, and agen­cies, as well as oth­er insti­tu­tions of the kind, estab­lished by the bish­ops, by mem­bers of the cler­gy, and by lay­men them­selves, men remark­ably gen­er­ous with their goods and much attached to Chris­t­ian wisdom.”
  3. Let them see that, at their ini­tia­tive and under their direc­tion, and with the co-oper­a­tion of mem­bers of Catholic Action and of oth­er Catholic groups devot­ed to the reli­gious, moral and social aid of work­ers, there are set up com­mit­tees and sub-com­mit­tees for migrants, espe­cial­ly in those dio­ce­ses from which more migrants are departing.
  4. Sim­i­lar­ly, let them watch dili­gent­ly that the com­mit­tees thus estab­lished per­form prop­er­ly the duties assigned them and strive to attain their goal, the sal­va­tion of souls.
  5. a) The local Ordi­nar­ies must not neglect to recom­mend that the pas­tors, engaged in this phase of their min­istry, with their usu­al dili­gence, should warn their peo­ple against the spir­i­tu­al dan­gers which ordi­nar­i­ly con-front them as soon as they leave their homes, their fam­i­lies, and their country.
  6. b) There­fore, pas­tors shall give suit­able cat­e­chet­i­cal instruc­tions to those of their parish­ioners who are pre-par­ing to migrate.
  7. The Ordi­nar­ies must not hes­i­tate to urge pas­tors to keep in con­tact with their peo­ple even after they migrate.
  8. The fol­low­ing pre­cepts of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion are to be observed scrupu­lous­ly: “The Ordi­nar­ies of Italy, espe­cial­ly through pas­tors and through the agen­cies devot­ed to the assis­tance of migrants, shall sec that depart­ing migrants and trav­ellers are giv­en eccle­si­as­ti­cal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards.
  9. They must do their best, using the meth­ods that seem most use­ful, to ensure the suc­cess both of the Day for Ital­ian Migrants, to be held annu­al­ly, and of the col­lec­tion for the spir­i­tu­al assis­tance of migrants. This col­lec­tion should be for­ward­ed to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Congregation.
  10. a) We con­grat­u­late those Ordi­nar­ies of dio­ce­ses out-side Italy, whether in Europe or over­seas, who try, through nation­al or dioce­san agen­cies and com­mis­sions to pro­vide every alien with spir­i­tu­al and moral help, receiv­ing them, though they are strangers, as mem­bers of their own flock. We request that in parish­es where all or most of the mem­bers are of Ital­ian descent, there be cel­e­brat­ed an annu­al Day for Ital­ian Migrants, as pro­vide in No.48 for the Ordi­nar­ies of Italy, and to see that the col­lec­tion tak­en be sent to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion in sup­port of the work for Ital­ian migrants.
  11. b) Sim­i­lar­ly, this should also be done with neces­sary mod­i­fi­ca­tions, for migrants of oth­er nation­al­i­ties and lan­guages, so that a Day for Migrants may be cel­e­brat­ed through­out the whole Catholic world at one and the same time, on the first Sun­day in Advent.
  12. The Ordi­nar­ies of Italy may wish, final­ly, to urge their pas­tors to offer one Mass a year for the Holy Father’s inten­tion, rather than pro pop­u­lo. They can call on them to adopt faith­ful­ly and vol­un­tar­i­ly such a change since it is done for the ben­e­fit of Ital­ian migrants.



  1. We rec­og­nize and approve the Pon­tif­i­cal Col­lege of priests, estab­lished to pro­vide mis­sion­ar­ies for Ital­ians migrat­ing abroad.
  2. a) We wish this Col­lege to remain depen­dent on the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, with­out, how­ev­er, inter­fer­ing with the juris­dic­tion of the Car­di­nal Vic­ar of Rome.
  3. b) It is up to the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion itself:
  4. To direct the Col­lege and watch over it, both with respect to the main­te­nance of dis­ci­pline and to its fin­ances and to the admin­is­tra­tion of its mate­r­i­al resources.
  5. To make rules for it.
  6. To appoint the Rec­tor and oth­er officials.
  7. The spe­cial func­tion of this Col­lege is to pre­pare young Ital­ian priests of the sec­u­lar cler­gy so that they may pro­vide Ital­ian migrants in for­eign lands. Since this func­tion is the same as that of the Pious Soci­ety of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of St. Charles, we per­mit the Rec­tor and the oth­er gov­ern­ing offi­cials and pro­fes­sors to be cho­sen from priests of the same Pious Soci­ety, to which we freely entrust this Col­lege. The require­ments of the pre­ced­ing num­ber are still to be observed.
  8. We also direct that, in the future, no priest be entrust­ed with the spir­i­tu­al care of migrants until he has been prop­er­ly pre­pared for an ade­quate peri­od of time in the Col­lege men­tioned above, and is thus rec­og­nized as suit­able for such duties by his qual­i­ties of mind and heart, his doc­trine, his knowl­edge of lan­guages, his sound health and oth­er requirements.
  9. Espe­cial­ly in those dio­ce­ses from which the major­i­ty of migrants are leav­ing, let the bish­ops be mind­ful that they should do what is most use­ful to the cause of reli­gion and most pleas­ing to us, name­ly, that they vol­un­tar­i­ly send to the Pon­tif­i­cal Col­lege those young priests who are outstand­ing for virtue and zeal for souls and who wish to devote them­selves entire­ly to the wel­fare of migrants.
  10. Final­ly, in oth­er regions and coun­tries out­side Italy to which migra­tion is now tak­ing place there may be a lack of ade­quate spir­i­tu­al assis­tance for the Catholic migrants already there. In such areas the Ordi­nar­ies can, with­out doubt, pro­vide this assis­tance if they fol­low care-ful­ly the meth­ods used for Ital­ian migrants, as ful­ly pub­li­cized in the Acts of the Roman Pon­tif­fs, and here­by approved by us, with nec­es­sary mod­i­fi­ca­tions for the place and circumstances.

There­fore, hav­ing seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered the impor­tance of this whole mat­ter, and being impelled by the exam­ples of Our Pre­de­ces­sors, and hav­ing giv­en care­ful atten­tion to the views of Adeoda­to G. Car­di­nal Piaz­za, Bish­op of Sabi­na and Pog­gio Mirte­to and Sec­re­tary of the Con­sis­to­r­i­al Con­gre­ga­tion, we, here­by, do estab­lish and pre­scribe all which is con­tained therein.

We now decree that what we here­by estab­lish shall not be sub­ject to attack for any rea­son what­so­ev­er, even though it be enact­ed with­out the con­sent of those who have or claim to have the right to express their opin­ion on this mat­ter, or even if they were not con­sult­ed or their opin­ion was not accept­ed. Fur­ther­more, we declare that what we, here­by, have stat­ed shall pos­sess and retain its force, its valid­i­ty, and its effec­tive­ness until such time as it shall have obtained its full results. Final­ly, we pub­licly state that all those who are expect­ed or will be expect­ed to ben­e­fit by it should do so by care­ful observance.

We reject as null and void every con­trary mea­sure, regard­less of who impu­dent­ly pro­pos­es to do so, whether know­ing­ly or through igno­rance, and irre­spec­tive of what his author­i­ty may be.

This Con­sti­tu­tion shall remain valid, notwith­stand­ing any­thing to the con­trary, includ­ing any oth­er Apos­tolic Con­stitutions or dis­po­si­tions of the Roman Pon­tif­fs, our pre­de­ces­sors, as men­tioned above or oth­er Acts, how­ev­er wor­thy of spe­cial men­tion or call­ing for canon­i­cal derogation.

No one, there­fore, shall mod­i­fy this text which express­es what we, here­by, estab­lish, ordain, reject, direct, unite, admon­ish, for­bid, com­mand, and desire, nor shall any­one rash­ly oppose it. But if some­one pre­sume to do so, he should know that he will incur the wrath of the omnipo­tent God, and of His apos­tles Peter and Paul.

Giv­en at Cas­tel Gan­dol­fo, near Rome, on August 1, the feast of St. Peter in Chains, in 1952, the 14th year of our Pontificate.

Pius P. P. XII









Adlaudatosi Webinars Videos VIMEO

Videos of the speakers’ interventions adlaudatosi VIMEO

Adlaudatosi Webinars Videos YOUTUBE

Religious Helping Trafficking Victims along the Road of Recovery (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Religious Working In International Advocacy Against Human Trafficking (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Trauma (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Impact Of Human Trafficking On Health: Healing (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — Where Are We Now? (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — What can be done? (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

International Prosecution Of Human Trafficking — Best Practices (ON-DEMAND VIDEO WEBINAR)

Demand As Root Cause For Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking & Prostitution

Human Trafficking — Interview with Prof. Michel Veuthey, Order of Malta — 44th UN Human Right Council 2020

POPE’S PAYER INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY 2020: Hear the cries of migrants victims of human trafficking


Church on the frontlines in fight against human trafficking



Catholic social teaching

Doctrine sociale de l’Église catholique

Register to our series of webinars adlaudatosi on Human Trafficking


You have successfully registered !