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Catholic Missionary Society

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0122 CMS
Held at: Westminster Diocesan Archives
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Full title: Catholic Missionary Society
Date(s): 1910-2001
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 51 boxes
Name of creator(s): Catholic Missionary Society


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Catholic Missionary Society was founded by Cardinal Vaughan as the Westminster Missionaries. The central focus of the organisation was the conversion of non-Catholics, rather than non-Christians. Although there is a secondary note of those who 'profess no religion', the Church of England and in particular the 'High Church' party were the main targets. The other element which increasingly came to the fore in the practice of Parish Missions and Retreats by the CMS was reaching the 'lapsed'. The mission was seen as a chance to visit those whose practice of the faith (most obviously their attendance at mass and confession) were less than they had been. Often these were called 'Missions to Catholics and non-Catholics' indicating that their purpose was to deepen and renew the faith of Catholics, to bring back those whose faith was becoming inactive and to reach out to those who were members, if not necessarily active members, of other Christian Churches. The CMS ceased service in 2003, with its work being continued by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation. Its assets were transferred to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Catholic Missionary Society (CMS), 1910-2001, including the journal of the CMS, Catholic Gazette, 1910-2001; financial accounts, 1995-1999; photographs; a history of the CMS; correspondence regarding the CMS to act as relaters for Christian Unity Dialogue; Catholic Enquiry Centre legacies, 1987-1995; Catholic Enquiry Centre correspondence; papers relating to Missionary Priests; minutes of the CMS, 1979-2001; papers relating to CMS Missions.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Open for consultation by appointment only between 12:00 - 5:00, Mondays and Wednesdays. Call: 0207 938 3580 or email: for appointments. Some items may be closed under the Data Protection Act, for more details consult the Archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only on the undertaking of a copyright declaration. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Finding aids:

Box list available in the Archive's reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

On permanent loan on behalf of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sep 2008

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