A Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization to be Formed? Bring it On!
The challenge of this "New Evangelization" is clear; we are all called to live out our baptismal vocation through lives of sacrificial service, at the heart of the Church, for the sake of the world. All of the faithful, men, and women, lay, clergy and religious, need to view themselves as missionaries. We also need to view the mission of the Church as OUR mission.
The now famous vision of Don Bosco's vision of the Church proceeding through troubled waters, led by the Vicar of Christ and guided by the twin pillars of Our Lady and the Holy Eucharist.
ROME (Catholic Online) - The rumors began with the respected reporting of Andrea Tornielli. He is the eminently reliable Vatican correspondent for the daily Il Giornale. His report was then picked up by the Vaticanisti and ever reliable, John L. Allen, Jr., the only good thing about the National Catholic Reporter these days. In an April 25, 2010 in NCR Allen wrote:
"According to a report from a well-connected Italian Vatican writer, Pope Benedict XVI will shortly announce the creation of a "Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization," to be presided over by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America."
Now, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has picked up on the story adding that "Pope Benedict XVI is about to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity."
The term "New Evangelization" is a favorite of Pope Benedict XVI - as it was of his predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II. The Catholic Church is in a season of purification, brought on (at least in part) by the sin of some of her members, including her clergy. Our Church needs conversion at every level. As members of Christ's Body, we are called to grieve, repent and work for the healing and authentic conversion and renewal of this Church that we love. We must also be honest about the reality we face.
There is a desperate need for such a new evangelization. Many Catholic Christians do not know what the Church actually teaches and have embraced what some have called a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of their faith they will follow. Finally, in the worst cases, a practical atheism is abounding wherein those bearing the title Christian are professing the Creed but confining its influence only to Sunday. Exactly what was warned of by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council and called the "greatest error of our age..the separation between faith and life."
Yet, this Church in such need is Christ's Church. When we acknowledge her weakness, we must do so with genuine love and affection. After all, we are sons and daughters of the Church. It was Saint Cyprian (who died in A.D. 258) who is most often quoted concerning this vital truth: "He who has turned his back on the Church of Christ shall not come to the rewards of Christ; he is an alien, a worldling, an enemy. You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother. Our Lord warns us when He says: `he that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.' Whosoever breaks the peace and harmony of Christ acts against Christ; whoever gathers elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ." (On The Unity of the Catholic Church)
As Catholic Christians we believe that the Church is God's plan for the entire world. He has not changed His mind. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled". Through our Baptism, we live in that Church and go into the world. We are called to love the Church with the affection of sons and daughters; she is our "mother". We cannot abandon the Church to the wolves within or without. After all, the promise of the Master is still true "The gates of hell will not prevail against her" This is, after all, Christ's Church! There is no "plan B" through which He will save and re-create the world. He established one Church through which to continue His work until His return.
She has undergone similar purifications and reform many times throughout her missionary journey over two thousand years. Her hull may be battered but she is still the Ark of Salvation, presided over by the Lord. He is at the helm steering His redemptive course through time. The contemporary culture into which we are sent as members of this missionary Church has clearly lost its way, throwing off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a "new" paganism. This phenomenon isn't really all that new. It is just dressed up in the sophistry of an age that purports to be "enlightened" when it is desperately lost.
The contemporary embrace of license over liberty, death over life, the use and abuse of the goods of the earth over stewardship, are all fueled by a counterfeit notion of freedom as a raw power over others and the accompanying delusion that "freedom" implies some feigned "right" to choose even what is wrong. The result of this rejection of the truth is tantamount to a practical atheism. Pope Benedict XVI nailed it when he referred to the "Dictatorship of Relativism" in his first homily.
It is also not new. It is simply Eden's error written large in an age which has once again rejected God and His plan for the ...
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