Propaganda, Sacred Congregation of. -- The Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide, whose official title is "sacra congregatio christiano nomini propagando" is the department of the pontifical administration charged with the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic conntries. The intrinsic importance of its duties and the extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under its jurisdiction have caused the cardinal prefect of Propaganda to be known as the "red pope".
The origin of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda has been variously accounted for; in reality it is the result of slow evolution. It is certain that it passed through two distinct periods, one formative and the other constitutive. The first period is that of the cardinalitial commission de propaganda fide (before it had been constituted a definite pontifical department or ministry). This lasted from the time of Gregory XIII (1572-85) to 1622, when Gregory XV established the congregation properly so-called. Gregory XIII instituted a primary commission composed of the three cardinals, Caraffa, Medici, and Santorio, who were especially charged to promote the union with Rome of the Oriental Christians (Slavs, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, and Abyssinians). Their meetings, held under the presidency of Cardinal Santorio, known as the Cardinal of Santa Severina, revealed certain urgent practical needs -- e. g. the foundation of foreign seminaries, the printing of catechisms and similar works in many languages. Its efforts were successful among the Ruthenians, the Armenians, Syrians, both Western (as those of the Lebanon) and Eastern (as those of Malabar). After the death of Gregory XIII the rapid succession of four popes in seven years arrested the progress of the commission's work. Clement VIII (1592-1605), a pontiff of large and bold aims, was deeply interested in the commission, and caused its first meeting after his election to be held in his presenee. He retained Santorio as its president: weekly meetings were held in that cardinal's palace, and every fifteen days the decisions and recommendations of the commission were referred to the pontiff. To this period belongs a very notable triumph, the union with Rome of the Ruthenian nation (the Little Russia of Poland) called the Union of Brest (1508).
After the death of Cardinals Sauli and Ludovisi, Urban VIII directed that there should be but one prefect general of the congregation, and nominated to the office his brother, Cardinal Antonio Barberini (29 Dec., 1632). At the same time he appointed his nephew, a second Cardinal Antonio Barberini, as the auxiliary of the preceding, and later made him his successor. These two open the series of prefects general of Propaganda. It was clear to Urban VIII that the impulse given to the establishment of ecclesiastical seminaries by the Council of Trent had already produced excellent results, even in the vast province of the Propaganda, through the agency of the numerous national colleges then founded, e. g. at Rome, the German, English, Greek, Maronite, Scots, and other colleges. But he also saw that it was necessary to establish a central seminary for the missions where young ecclesiastics could be educated, not only for countries which had no national college but also for such as were endowed with such institutions. It seemed very desirable to have, in every country, priests educated in an international college where they could acquire a larger personal acquaintance, and establish in youth relations that might be mutually helpful in after life. Thus arose the seminary of the Propaganda known as the Collegium Urbanum, from the name of its founder, Urban VIII. It was established by the Bull "Immortalis Dei", of 1 Aug., 1627, and placed under the immediate direction of the Congregation of Propaganda. The congregation itself developed so rapidly that it became eventually necessary to divide its immense domain into various secretariates and commissions. This continuous increase of its labours dates from its very earliest years. In the beginning the meetings of the congregation were held in the presence of the pope; soon, however, the pressure of business grew to be so great that the general prefect and the general secretary were authorized to transact all current business, with the obligation of placing before the pope, at stated intervals, the more important matters, which is still the custom. In extent of territory, in external and internal organization, and in junsdiction, the congregation has undergone modifications according to the needs of the times; but it may be said that its definite organization dates from about 1650.
In the Constitution "Sapienti Consilio" of Pius X (29 June, 1908), the plan was followed of entrusting to Propaganda those countries of Europe and America where the ecclesiastical hierarchy is not established. Great Britain, Holland, Luxemburg, Canada, and the United States were therefore removed from its jurisdiction; on the other hand, all the vicariates and prefectures Apostolic of America and the Philippines, which were formeriy subject to the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, were placed under Propaganda. A departure from the general plan was in leaving Australia under the jurisdiction of the latter congregation, with the addition of St-Pierre, in Martinique, and Guadeloupe. Another restriction of the powers of Propaganda effected by the new legislation was, that all matters appertaining to faith, the sacraments (particulariy matrimony), rites, and religious congregations -- as such, even though they were exclusively devoted to the work of the missions -- were assigned to the care of the respective congregations: those of the Holy Office, the Sacraments, Rites, and Regulars.
The colleges are institutions for the education of the clergy, intended either to supply clergy for missions that have no native clergy or to give a better education to the native clergy for the apostolate in their own country. The central seminary of Propaganda is, as has been said, the Urban College, established in the palace of the congregation at Rome. The immediate superiors are two prelates, one the general seeretary of the congregation, and the other the rector. In this college may be found students from all the territories subject to Propaganda, but from nowhere else. The average number of its resident students is about one hundred and ten. It has its own schools, which are attended by many other students not subject to Propaganda -- e. g. the Bohemian College. Besides the preparatory training, these schools offer courses of philosophy and theology, and confer the academic degrees of Bachelor, Licentiate, and Doctor of Theology. The number of students in these schools exceeds five hundred. In Rome the College of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, for Italian missionaries (Lower California and China), and the College of St. Anthony, for Franciscan missionaries (especially in China), are subject to Propaganda, which also exercises jurisdiction over the following missionary colleges outside of Rome: St. Calocerus, at Milan, for Italian missionaries to China and India; St. Charles, at Parma (China); Brignole-Sale, at Genoa (without local designation of mission); Instituto per la Nigrizia (for negroes of the Sudan), at Verona; College for African Missions, at Lyons, especially for French missionaries to Africa; Seminary of Foreign Missions, at Paris (India, Indo-China, China, Japan); Mill Hill Seminary, near London, for the missionaries of the Society of St. Joseph (India, Central Africa, Malay Peninsula); House of St. Joseph, Rozendaal (for Dutch students of the Mill Hill Society); House of St. Joseph, Brixen in the Tyrol (for German students of the same society); four colleges of the Society of the Divine Word, at Steyl (Holland), at Heiligen-kreuz (Germany), and at St. Gabriel, near Vienna, for the students of the same society whose missionary fields are in the United States, South America, Oceania, China, and Africa; College of All Hallows, Dublin, for Irish missionaries; American College at Louvain, for missionaries to the United States. The national colleges at Rome subject to the Propaganda are: the Greek, Ruthenian, Armenian, and Maronite colleges. It also exercises jurisdiction over the Albanian College at Scutari, the Co}}ege of Pulo-Penang (Prince of Wales Island) in Indo-China, belonging to the Society of Foreign Missions at Paris for the native Indo-Chinese clergy. Before the appearance of the Constitution "Sapienti Consilio", the American, Canadian, English, Irish, and Scots Colleges at Rome, the English College at Lisbon, the English and the Scots College at Valladolid, and the Irish College at Paris were all subject to Propaganda.
The auxiliaries of this vast organization are all religious orders and regular congregations of men and women to which foreign missions are confided. Their number is very great. The principal orders (Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, Jesuit etc.) have charge of numerous missions. During the nineteenth century many regular societies of missionary priests and missionary sisters entered actively, and with great success, on missionary labours under the direction of the congregation. The principal colleges of these auxiliary bodies (not directly suhject to Propaganda) are: at Rome, the Colleges of St. Fidelis (Capuchin) and St. Isidore (Irish Franciscans), and the Irish Augustinian College; outside of Rome, the college at Schooten near Brussels (Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), the seminary of the African Missions at Lyons (White Fathers) etc.
Each of the secretariates has its mintitanti, scrittori, and protocollisti. There are also the General Archives, and a Despatch Office. The minutanti (so called because one of their duties is to prepare the minutes of decrees and letters which are afterwards re-copied by the scrittori) are officials occupied with the subordinate affairs of certain regions. We may note here the simplicity and the industry of the Propaganda secrctariate: only six minutanti attend to the affairs of the countries of the Latin Rite subject to the congregation. Apropos of the authority of Propaganda we shail see what a vast deal of work is involved in thc ordinary despatch of this work. The minutanti, in addition to making minutes of the ordinary acts of the secretariate, prepare the ponenze, i.e. the printed copies of the propositions or cases destined to come before the general cardinalitial congregation. Every week each of the two secretariates holds a meeting (congresso) in the presence of the cardinal prefect, of its own secretary, and of the head of the other secretariate. At this meeting each minutante reports on all matters for the settlement of which reference to the pertinent set of documents may be necessary, he gives oral informations etc. After hearing the report of the minutante and the opinion of the Secretary concerned, sometimes of all others present, the cardinal prefect issues an order to reply, or to defer the case, or to send it up to the general congregation. The scrittori copy all documents that are to be despatched, while the protocollisti stamp, number, and register all papers received and sent out. Records of the earliest proceedings of the congregation, dating from its first establishment, are preserved in the General Archives, or Record Office. Finally, there is the Despatch Office (ufficio di spedizione), which keeps its own register of all documents issuing from Propaganda, and sees to their actual forwarding. The office of consultor is filled gratuitously by a number of prelates, to whom the secretariates send such of the ponenze as are of litigious nature -- matrimonial causes, diocesan difficulties, etc. These consultors are requested to express their opinions, which are then attached to the ponenze and presented therewith to the cardinals at the General Congregation. The Oriental Secretariate employs interpreters -- ecclesiastics who translate all current correspondence in Arabic, Armenian,etc., and who are sworn to perform their work faithfully.
The method of treatment applied by Propaganda to an ordinary case may be described as follows: A letter addressed to the congregation is opened by the cardinal prefect who annotates it with some terse official formula in Latin, embodying his first instructions (e. g. that a précis of the antecedent correspondence relating to this matter is to be made). Then the letter goes to the Protocollo, where it is stamped and registered, and its object noted on the outside. The chief minutante reports on its object and on the note made by the cardinal to the secretary concerned, and writes the corresponding order of the secretary. Supposing the order should be to write a letter, the folio is given to the minutante, who draws up his minute according to the instructions of the cardinal prefect and of the secretary, he then passes it on to the scrittore, who copies it, and verifies the copy. This copy, with all the correspondence in the case, is returned (supposing it to be matter to be sent away from Rome) to the cardinal prefect, who signs it and remits it to the secretary. The secretary countersigns it and passes it on to the Despatch Office, which, after returning to the protocolto (for preservation) the other correspondence of the case under consideration, registers it, encloses all matter to be forwarded in an envelope, writes thereon the postal weight, and sends it on to the Accounting Office. Here the postal weight is verified, the stamps affixed, and the letter forwarded to the Post Office. By this system everything is under control, from the subject-matter of the correspondence to tke cost of postage. The whole routine is completed with rapidity and regularity under the immediate responsibility of the several persons who have charge of the matter in its various stages.
Before the Constitution "Sapienti Consilio" the second cardinalitial Prefecture of Propaganda was that of the cardinal prefect of finance, to whom are entrusted the finances of Propaganda, the expenses, subsidies etc. Decisions regarding subsidies pertained either to the cardinal prefect or to the General Congregation, or to the Board of Finance (congresso economico), which met as an executive committee for the transaction of thc most important ordinary business with which the General Congregation was entrusted. This Prefecture of Finance was composed of the general prefect, the cardinal prefect of finance, and of some other cardinal of the General Congregation. Pius X, however, by the above mentioned Constitution, suppressed the Prefecture of Finance, and its functions are now discharged by the General Prefecture. With the Prefecture of Finance was joined the executive office of the Reverend Chamber of Chattels (Azienda della Reverenda Camera degli Spogli), i.e. the effective administration of the revenues collected from vacant benefices (spogli), one of the sources of revenue of Propaganda. The two permanent commissions of Propaganda are: one for the revision of Synodal Decrees (provincial or dioccsan) in countries subject to Propaganda and one for the revision of liturgical books of the, Oriental rites. Each of these Commissions is presided over by a cardinal, has for secretary a prelate, and is always in close communication with its own secretariate.
It should be added that all these proceedings are absolutely without expense to the litigants (gratis quocumque titulo), i.e. no one is ever called on for any payment to the congregation because or on account of any favour or decision. Thus, the wealthiest Catholic in America, Great Britain, Holland, or Germany, who has brought a matrimornal case before Propaganda, pays literally nothing, whatever the judgment may be. There are no chancery expenses, and nothing is collected even for the printing of the diocesan records, consultors' opinions, etc. This fact shows how absurd are certain calumnies uttered against the Holy See, especially in connexion with matrimonial cases, as though the annulment of a marriage could be procured at Rome by the use of money. Were such the purpose of the Roman Curia, it would not exempt the richest countries of the world -- those precisely in which it is easiest for persons of opulence to institute legal proceedings -- from any expense, great or small, direct or indirect.
One of the customs of Propaganda, worthy of special mention, is the gift of a fan to all employees at the beginning of the summer. This custom appears to have arisen in the early days, when fans were sent from China by the missionaries. It is customary for the Urban College to hold, at Epiphany, a solemn "Accademia Polyglotta", to symbolize the world-wide unity of the Catholic Church. At this accademia the Propaganda students recite poems in their respective mother tongues. Invited guests always find it very interesting to listen to this medley of the strangest languages and dialects. Another custom of the Urban College is that every graduate student (alumno), wherever he may be in the pursuit of his ministry, is bound to write every year a letter to the cardinal prefect, to let him know how the writer's work is progressing and how he fares himself. The cardinal answers immediately, in a letter of paternal encouragement and counsel. By this means there is maintained a bond of affection and of mutual goodwill between the "great mother " -- as the "Propagandists", or the alumni of Propaganda, designate the congregation -- and her most distant sons.
The names of many distinguished persons appear in the records of Propaganda, notably in the catalogue of its cardinals, prelates, and officials. Among the cardinal prefects entitled to special mention are the following: Giuseppe Sagripanti (d. 1727), a meritorious reformer of Roman judicial procedure; the very learned Barnabite Sigismondo Gerdil (d. 1802); Stefano Borgia, patron of Oriental studies, protector of the savant Zoega (d. 1804); Ercole Consalvi (d. 1824), the great diplomatist, Secretary of State to Pius VII, at whose death he was made prefect general of Propaganda by Leo XII; Mauro Cappellari later Gregory XVI, who was prefect general from 1826 to his election as pope (1831). Among the General Secretaries (who usually become cardinals) the following are particularly worthy of special mention: Domenico Passionei, created cardinal in 1738; Nicolò Fortiguerra, a distinguished man of letters (d. 1739); the erudite Angelo Mai, secretary from 1833 to 183S. The list of missionaries sent forth by Propaganda has been long and glorious, containing the names of many martyrs. The protomartyr of Propaganda is St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, a German Capuchin, missionary in Grisons, Switzerland. The Calvinists killed him in the village of Sercis, 24 April, 1622. He was canonized by Benedict XIV in 1746. Propaganda holds at all times a grateful memory of the Discalced Carmelites. It was they who vigorously urged the Holy See to found the congregation, foremost among them being Domenico di Gesu e Maria, general of the order. In the original act of its foundation he appears as a member. Tommaso da Gesu, another Carmelite, opportunely published in 1613, at Antwerp, a Latin work on the obligation of preaching the Gospel to all nations.
Many authors have treated of Propaganda very inaccurately, and have confused the ancient and recent systems of administration. The most reliable of the earlier writers are: DE LUCA, Il Cardinale Practico; CORNELIUS, Informationi intorno al Cardinalato (Rome, 1653); BAYER AND MENZEL, Breve compendium hist. S. Congr. de Prop. Fide (Königsberg, 1721); POLLARD, Les ministres ecclésiastiques du S. Siège (Lyons, 1878); LEGA, Praelectiones in textum juris canonici (Rome 1898); ANON., La Propaganda e la conversione de' suoi beni immobili (Rome 1884); HUMPHREY, Urbs et Orbis (London, 1899), 380-386. Cf. also MYERS, Die Propaganda, ihre Provinzen und ihr Recht; BANGEN, Die römische Curie (Münster, 1854); PEIPER in Römische Quartalschrift, I (1889), for the Archives. For the most important Coptic codices formerly preserved by Propaganda see ZGEGA, Catalagus Codic. Copt. MSS. Musoei Borgiani (Rome, 1810); MEIER, Die Propaganda (Göttingen, 1852); LEITNER, De Curia Romana (1909).