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By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Many Catholics do not know what the Church actually teaches

Pope Benedict said he wanted to give the new Pontifical Council the task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries with deep Christian roots which are now experiencing a sense of the 'eclipse of God' and becoming increasingly secularized.The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization will be tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization will be tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization will be tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Europe


ROME (Catholic Online) - The first of numerous reports which I read concerning the formation of a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization was from Andrea Tornielli of the Italian Daily Il Giornale. That report was picked up by John L. Allen, Jr. who wrote these words in an April 25, 2010 article for the National Catholic Reporter:

"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.The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America."

Then the reports began to multiply. The ever reliable Rocco Palmo, in his excellent blog for all things Roman Catholic entitled "Whispers in the Loggia" later reported that  " The office's genesis came from two prominent exponents of the "new movement" closest to Benedict, Comunione e Liberazione; the late CL founder Msgr Luigi Giussani proffered the idea to John Paul II as far back as the early 1980s, and the thought was recently revived to Benedict by the movement's highest-profile ally after the Pope, the patriarch of Venice Cardinal Angelo Scola."

On Monday, June 28, 2010 Vatican Radio confirmed that all of these reports were accurate. Pope Benedict XVI officially announced the establishment of a new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. He did so on the Vigil of the great Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The Vigil took place, as is the custom, at Rome's Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls:

"Pope Benedict announced the creation of a New Pontifical Council dedicated to the New Evangelization on Monday evening. Pope Benedict chose the Church of the first great Christian missionary - St. Paul - to announce a new Pontifical Council dedicated to the evangelization of secularized Christian nations.

"The Pope was celebrating the Vespers of the Vigil of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. During his homily, he spoke of how his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had urgently proclaimed a new evangelization, aimed at countries which had long before received the Gospel.

"Pope Benedict said he received this legacy upon his own election to the Chair of Peter, and noted the challenges of the present time are mostly spiritual. He said he wanted to give the new Pontifical Council the task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries with deep Christian roots which are now experiencing a sense of the "eclipse of God", and becoming increasingly secularized.

"He said this situation presents a challenge in finding the appropriate means in which to revive the perennial truth of the Gospel of Christ."

The term "New Evangelization" is a favorite of Pope Benedict XVI - as it was of his predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II.  There is a desperate need for such a new evangelization in the secularized Western world. Many Catholics do not know what the Church actually teaches. Some have embraced what is often called a "cafeteria Catholicism"- choosing what parts of their faith they will follow. Others bearing the title Christian profess the Creed but confine its influence only to recitation at the Liturgy on Sunday.

This is 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." The result of the rejection of the very existence of objective truth was referred to by Pope Benedict XVI in his first homily as a "Dictatorship of Relativism".  The contemporary culture has clearly lost its way, throwing off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a "new" paganism; which is just the old paganism dressed up in the sophistry of an age that purports to be "enlightened" when it is desperately lost.

The embrace of license over liberty, death over life, and the abuse of the goods of the earth over responsible 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 United States (which consistently polls as one of the most "religious" of the Nations of the West) demonstrates little evidence of the influence of the Christian faith in its daily life.  The principles derived from any past influence of that faith are no longer respected in its increasingly coarsened culture of death and materialism.

"Religion" is acceptable as long as it is kept "private". Yet, of all religious expressions, Christianity can never be "kept private". The Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is profoundly public. Christian faith may be personal but evangelization and mission are at its core. 

Christianity proclaims a God who loves the world that He created so much that He wrote the universal laws governing all men and women into the fabric of a Natural Law which can be known through the exercise of reason.

This God who fashioned us also made us to reflect Him through the way we exercise our capacity for freedom, our ability to choose. He invites us to choose what is good, right and true. Christians proclaim that there is an objective truth. Truth is truth for all men and women. The new pagans find such a claim offensive. However, its reassertion by a renewed Church is a vital part of this "New Evangelization."
 
Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John Paul II both noted what is obvious, many cultures, formerly infused with a Christian culture, are now "post-Christian" and need to be "re- evangelized." This is the mission of the "New Evangelization." When the late John Paul visited the Americas, just before the turn of the third millennium; he addressed this challenge in a letter entitled "To the Church in America" with these words:

"The new Evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious, and well organized effort to evangelize culture. The Son of God, by taking upon Himself our human nature, became incarnate within a particular people, even though His redemptive death brought redemption to all people, of every culture, race and condition. The gift of His Spirit and His love are meant for each and every people and culture, in order to bring them all into unity after the perfect unity existing in the Triune God" (Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, 70).

This "New Evangelization" calls all members of the Church to live out our baptismal vocation through lives of sacrificial service at the heart of the Church, for the sake of the world. It is a call to the transformation of culture.  Since the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church the consistent teaching concerning the importance of missionary activity has been that the Church is by nature missionary and that every baptized Christian participates in her missionary activity.

The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization will be tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be among the major areas of influence of the mission of this vital new effort.

---


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That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
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