The Holy See Search



7-28 OCTOBER 2012

The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


22 - 18.10.2012




Today and tomorrow morning will continue the works by the Working Groups (Session II, III, IV), for the draft and the approval by every Working Group of the projects for the texts of the Propositions (the formulae of Synodal consensus regarding certain subjects deemed important by the Synodal Fathers, suggestions offered to the Holy Father as the fruit of the Synodal Work),
we hereby publish the written interventions, not presented in the Hall.

The following Synod Fathers delivered their interventions in writing only:

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Nicholas MANG THANG, Archbishop Coadjutor of Mandalay, Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Hakha (MYANMAR)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Anthony Fallah BORWAH, Bishop of Gbarnga (LIBERIA)
- H. Em. Rev. Card. Giuseppe VERSALDI, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Joachim KOURALEYO TAROUNGA, Bishop of Moundou (CHAD)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Basílio DO NASCIMENTO, Bishop of Baucau, President of the Episcopal Conference (TIMOR ORIENTAL)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Edward Hilboro KUSSALA, Bishop of Tombura-Yambio (SUDAN)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Menghesteab TESFAMARIAM, M.C.C.J., Bishop of Asmara (ERITREA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Rosario Saro VELLA, S.D.B., Bishop of Ambanja (MADAGASCAR)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Charles MAHUZA YAVA, S.D.S., Titular Bishop of Apisa Major, Apostolic Vicar of the Comore Islands (COMORE ISLAND)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Salutaris Melchior LIBENA, Bishop of Ifakara (TANZANIA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Virginio Domingo BRESSANELLI, S.C.I., Bishop of Neuquén (ARGENTINA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Kieran Thomas CONRY, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (GREAT BRITAIN (ENGLAND AND WALES)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. György UDVARDY, Bishop of Pécs (HUNGARY)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Olorunfemi ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of Abuja (NIGERIA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Gerard Tlali LEROTHOLI, O.M.I., Archbishop of Maseru, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Ebebe AYAH, Bishop of Ogoja (NIGERIA)
- Rev. F. Gregory GAY, C.M., Superior General of the Congregation for the Mission (Lazarites)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Otto SEPARY, Bishop of Aitape (PAPUA NEW GUINEA)

Below are the summaries of the interventions not presented in the Hall, but delivered in written format by the Synod Fathers:

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Nicholas MANG THANG, Archbishop Coadjutor of Mandalay, Apostolic Administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Hakha (MYANMAR)

The term “Evangelization” refers to every aspect of the Church’s activity. It is true that the very nature of the Church itself is Missionary and it is orientated towards the Mission of Jesus Christ and the Mission of the Holy Spirit, according to the plan of God the Father (Ad Gentes 2; Lumen Gentium 2). Therefore the sending of his Son as the Savior of the world is the Father’s plan (1 Jn. 4:14), his business (Lk. 2:49) and his commandment (In. 15:10). No wonder that Christ has said that his food was to do the will of who (Father) sent him and to complete his work (In. 4:34), and not to believe in him, if he were not doing his Father’s work (In. 10:17). Christ also testified by his works, and deed, that had been assigned to him by the Father to perform as a sure sign that the father had sent him (Jn. 5:36-37).
The whole purpose of Christ’s ministry, his prime Evangelization to the world as His Mission- assignment given by the Father is to re-establish all things in Christ, and restore his erring children to their heavenly Father by the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of the Cross, so that giving to all men to say with the whole being, “Our Father”, a thing we had been unable to do ever since the fall, and so to restore to us everything through the fall we had lost, bestowing upon us a place in a family of Our Father, in a word the ability to become again adopted children of God, whereby to be able to cry, “Abba” (Father). In this, is the merciful Love of the Father manifested in all its perfection that Jesus was always conscious of his Father and the responsibility laid down upon him to be the Savior of the world, in his life time and even up to the end of his fulfilling of the Father’s Mission of suffering and dying on the cross (Jn. 16:28; Jn. 18:11). He completed his Mission of the Father with these words, “Forgive them for they do not know what they do and Father into your hands I commend my Spirit” (Lk. 23:34).
In Asia, especially in South-East Asia where the majority of the people are Buddhists, evangelization is practically difficult and conversion too is very slow. May be due to two mainstreams of ideology or culture that is 1) nationality, culture and religion are identified as one 2) crucifixion, and violent death of someone could not be considered him to be as God, Savior, and bearer of Good News and consequently he could not be considered a good, holy and virtuous person, due to the Buddhist tradition and belief of re-incarnation theory. In line with the prophetic message, role and spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux who is in this 21 st century, as the Patron Saint of the Missions, and Doctor of Love of the father, Jesus and the Church. It is high time, that the church should enfold into depth the Mission orientated Theological-Spirituality of St. Therese who shed a new light on one the oldest and fundamental of catholic Doctrine that God is our loving and merciful Father who cares and in concerned both spiritual and bodily needs of all human beings without any distinction of race, color, religion and all created beings. (Mt. 6:26; Lk. 11:11-12)

[00339-02.03] [IS001] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Anthony Fallah BORWAH, Bishop of Gbarnga (LIBERIA)

Since her establishment in Liberia in 1906, the Catholic Church has represented Jesus as the Good News of salvation from the pulpit, through religious and diplomatic dialogues and the establishment of health, educational, human rights, and media services, amongst others. She has also been a prophetic voice warning people about inevitable civil conflict if people's rights were not respected. During the war she continued playing this role through institutions like the Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Radio Veritas, Caritas and other services. The words of the Holy Father at Ouidah, Benin, are relevant for evangelization in post·war Liberia: “The new evangelization presumes that Christians are reconciled with God and with one another. ...The faithful will also promote justice... in African societies divided and threatened by violence and war, yet hungering and thirsting for true justice” (AFRICAE MUNUS). Today, Liberians are hungering and thirsting for true justice, peace and reconciliation and for the truth, which remains the greatest casualty. The new evangelization calls for the Church to equally address the issues of reconciliation, peace and justice, as they are a crucial starting point and an opportunity for the Gospel. Practical approaches to evangelization, particularly charity, saw many converts to the Catholic Church. Some converts claim that Our Lady helped them and their families during the war. So devotion to Our Lady has increased even among some non-Catholics who eagerly join Catholics during Marian novenas, pilgrimages and processions. As this Synod hails the Blessed Virgin Mary as the “Star of the New Evangelization”, there is a need to tap her great wisdom particularly from her approved apparitions, like Fatima, whose messages could be relevant for the new evangelization.

[00335-02.03] [IS002] [Original text: English]

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Giuseppe VERSALDI, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (VATICAN CITY)

As Christ has taught us, the proclamation of the Gospel must be accompanied by the credibility of the proclaimer, putting into practice the message proclaimed. This also concerns the way in which the Church uses the necessary temporal goods for her spiritual mission. Three observations on the actuality of this theme:
1) There is a true difficulty in finding the right balance between the necessary priorities of the spiritual finality and the techniques with which the material goods are managed by the ecclesiastical administrations, inasmuch as these techniques are dictated by the world and often are in contrast with the religious finality. It would follow then that there is a possibility for errors by those who administrate the ecclesiastical goods, where the presumption of good intentions and honesty to the demonstration to the contrary must be applied, rather than the easy accusation of personal interests or power which denigrate the Church.
2) In cases of the possible bad administration of ecclesial goods, as therapy, the evangelical medicine of fraternal correction must be applied. Before denouncing to the authorities, personal confrontation must be applied to give the possibility of reformation and repairing. Transparency does not automatically mean the publicizing of evil which leads to scandal. Only if conversion is not there, the proper authorities must be called, who have the task of verifying the accusations without them being already considered proof of misgovernment.
3) The positive necessity that the Church should better communicate how the goods in her possession will be used, those goods that are at the service of evangelization and human promotion in the whole world. This does not mean flaunting the good one does, but to bear witness to the great charity present in the Church which must shine like the light that enlightens the world.
[00336-02.03] [IS003] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Joachim KOURALEYO TAROUNGA, Bishop of Moundou (CHAD)

The context of the Church in Chad has been well described by the logo for the Year of the Faith. Several decades of wars and poverty created feelings of impotence and insecurity in the people, a real terrain favorable to the emergence and proliferation of: witchcraft, divination, alcoholism and sects. But also a living presence of Christ.
A fundamental question in this context is: Can we proclaim the Gospel to people who throughout history have forged a deep feeling of impotence and dereliction? No. 21 of the Instrumentum laboris would seem to suggest an answer.
It is hard to proclaim Jesus Christ to traumatized individuals who no longer trust anybody. Religious nomadism, a practical form of relativism, is out there for us to be convinced. Faced with this relativism, the temptation to become discouraged is great. Where then will New Evangelization find the necessary strength to achieve its mission?
Chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel proposes Jesus to us as a model in four parables. The parable of the sower, the parable of the wheat and good seed; the parable of the mustard seed; and the parable of the leaven buried in the flour. Not only is the parable the correct language to explain what is complicated. The four parables reveal the evangelizing attitudes of Jesus. They are: the principle of non-discrimination, serenity and trust.
The principle of non-discrimination: The Gospel must be proclaimed to all nations, without judging the possibility of its acceptance or refusal. The Church must be the sower. That’s all.
Serenity: The world has become a religious and ideological market. Therefore New Evangelization must calmly accept pluralism as a field for the proclamation of Christ.
Trust: Faith obeys the law of “incognito”. The New Evangelization must believe that the proclaimed Gospel will create fruits.
May this Synod bring to the Church the joy of proclaiming with serenity and trust the Gospel of Christ to all nations. Amen.

[00337-02.03] [IS004] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Basílio DO NASCIMENTO, Bishop of Baucau, President of the Episcopal Conference (TIMOR ORIENTAL)

Timor is a small island located between Australia and Indonesia. Divided in two between Holland and Portugal; the western half is part of Indonesia today and the eastern half became independent ten years ago, the first independent country of the 21st century, with 18 million square meters and 1,150,000 inhabitants. The average age of the nation is 26. Unfortunately there are many natural resources. The specialists say there are too many. Yet the population is still very poor.
From the point of view of the Church, 97% of the population is Catholic, with 3 dioceses. The Episcopal Conference is only 6 months old. The remaining 3% is made up of Protestants, Hinduists, Buddhists, Muslims and some “neutral articles”.
The Church in East Timor is very fluorescent. The population lives simply, but with a great conviction in the faith in Jesus Christ, even starting with the government members who have no reservations in publically witnessing their faith, despite what is stated in the Nation’s Constitution. We could say that we feel a great joy and pride, a saintly pride of being a nation that believes in Jesus Christ and in belonging to the Catholic Church right in the middle of Asia, even while still not understanding too well what the stakes implied are. This is a sort of identity assertion. The Philippines and East Timor are unexplainable cases as pertaining to the Catholic Church in Asia.

[00338-02.02] [IS005] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Edward Hilboro KUSSALA, Bishop of Tombura-Yambio (SUDAN)

In the context of the two Sudans and Africa as whole, Evangelization is strengthened when it considers seriously the people to whom it is addressed, using their language, signs and symbols and answering the questions they ask, thus actually touching their daily lives.
For this reason this synod is an eye opener and must have these as a point of departure:
a) The agents of Evangelization first and foremost need conversion by taking close self-examination to ourselves and our administrative functions.
b) As evangelizers we need to be proactive and courageous in our ministry of evangelization. Our mission requires us first of all to create in the Church itself mutual esteem, reverence and harmony and to acknowledge all legitimate, diversity. What type of evangelization we can propose for the people of the two Sudans and Africa as whole, rather than the theology of peace?
The birth of South Sudan was welcomed with high jubilations: mainly the years of slavery, persecution of Christians and oppression has gone, but also hopes of new beginning, of development and provision of essential services. In fact, the two Sudans and rest of the African nations are faced by enormous challenges such as nation building, healing wounds of our painful pasts and present, managing the expectations of our people, withstanding international investors who do not care about the safety and wellbeing of the local people.
c)The new evangelization must focus on the spirituality of Life, I am the eternal life. It must address social evils and promote the dignity of every human being.
d)The new Evangelization in continents such as Africa and wherever there are natural resources in the world, theology of the nature is necessary to spread the culture of environmental protection against wrong investors. Natural resources have been with us for ages, an eternity. They have ignited dreams of riches and fueled wars. These dreams in the past have given rise to hundreds of years of colonialism with a beggar-thy-neighbor policy, with Africa one of its victims, and have, in the modern world, have given birth to a debilitating reality, the resource curse, which many nations in Africa sadly exemplify. The resource curse refers to countries that should be rich because of their significant endowment with natural resources, but which in reality are poor. Such approaches have to be used as raw material for real evangelization which saves life and preserves peace.

[00268-02.04] [IS202] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Menghesteab TESFAMARIAM, M.C.C.J., Bishop of Asmara (ERITREA)

At the opening of the Second Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops the Holy Father warned us against two viruses which are openly on the offensive to weaken the Christian Faith in the whole continent of Africa: namely secularism and the proliferation of religious sects. This is very true because each one of them manufactures relativism and fundamentalism respectively. It is therefore important that in our program of New Evangelization we identify their roots and restore to health all that has been affected by them within us, our families, parishes and dioceses. They are the declared adversaries of our faith and we know it. But where do they come from? Are we sure they are not the offshoots of our mediocrity and inconsistent life as followers of Jesus Christ? Many of those who are disgruntled with this kind of incoherent faith in us who claim to be good Christians may have chosen to go the way of relativism-indifferentism or emotionalism and fundamentalism! If we were a little more coherent and credible in our Christian living we would not only stop them from leaving the visible Church, but we would be able to attract many new members like the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, who: "Each day, with one heart, they regularly went to the temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.” (Ac 2:46-47)
It is possible to be perfectly religious and faithless at the same time. This is of course the third and most daunting challenge for us who would like to embark on the road of the New Evangelization. It is more subtle but it needs to be given special attention during the work of New Evangelization. If we really want to be honest with ourselves we need to admit that we are not consistent with what we profess. And this has been and still is the greatest enemy of our faith. This is why at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus clearly tells us: "It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven."(Mt.7:21). In transmitting the Christian Faith with the New Evangelization, we must make sure that people listen the Word of God and obey it faithfully. We need to eradicate this mediocre stance from within ourselves and our communities.

[00281-02.04] [IS220] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Rosario Saro VELLA, S.D.B., Bishop of Ambanja (MADAGASCAR)

Africa: Madagascar is a young country and the Church in Africa and in Madagascar is a young Church. We are aware of the importance of the elder in patriarchal communities. It is the elder who transmits the values and customs... The elder speaks and has the last word. But the artifice of change is the young! We - as Church and Bishops - educate and teach. But those who teach have to be capable of learning. What can the young teach us?
1. In Madrid during the vigil there was a real storm and downpour that did not discourage the youth who, though soaked, remained in silent adoration. His Holiness Benedict XVI said to them, “Your strength is greater than the rain”. The young can teach the Church and us Bishops courage and strength.
The New Evangelization needs courageous evangelizers. It is said that Peter’s boat found itself in the middle of the storm. Let us be guided by the wind of the Holy Spirit and not complain if the waves make us think we are going to sink. Rather, we should prefer these risks rather than sailing in stagnant waters that only give us false security.
2. When the young enter into dialogue, they always love to be at the same level as their interlocutor. The young can teach us humility. Many times we present ourselves to the world as haughty masters of a truth which we think we are the only owners of, forgetting that instead we are tired and weak pilgrims in the search for truth. In the dialogue within the Church, in ecumenical dialogue, in interreligious dialogue, in dialogue with the great religions or people with other convictions, should we not have this humble way of behaving?
3. Young people teach us joy.
A joy that is interior, above all, because it comes from God, but it is also expressed externally. The young are asking us for a liturgy that is more joyful, more participatory, more in tune with their lives, a liturgy of singing and dancing. They ask us for a demanding but not negative morality, a morality that frees young people from the slavery of selfishness, relativism and hedonism, and that fills their hearts. The young are asking us for a faith that is not intellectual but vital. A faith that passes through the mind but reaches the heart.
4. The young are very keen on working together with a view to sharing their experiences, and helping each other. The young teach us the Spirituality of Communion. It is a conversion, a change of mentality.
5. The young teach us the love of the Cross.
The Cross is the sign of an infinite love, of a love that does not fear death but that gives life for those who love each other. The Cross is a sign of the victory over personal evil and evil in the world. The Cross is “our glory, salvation and resurrection”. Ave, Crux spes Unica.
This is what all the saints taught us. I would just like to recall two of the young people presented to us as models by the Pope this year: Pier Giorgio Frassati (“Life is joyful even if I suffer”) and Chiara Luce Badano (referring to her illness: “If you want it, Jesus, so do I”).

[00295-02.04] [IS221] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Charles MAHUZA YAVA, S.D.S., Titular Bishop of Apisa Major, Apostolic Vicar of the Comore Islands (COMORE ISLAND)

My intervention refers to points 64, 91 and 111 of the Instrumentum laboris, and at point 91, I quote: “The Gospel cannot be transmitted in a life which is not modelled after the Gospel or a life which does not find its meaning, truth and future based on the Gospel”. From what precedes, we understand that evangelization is first of all done by the radiance of her faith, of her life as believer in Jesus Christ who is Love. This is the love of God that transforms our life internally. The signs of our faith which we transmit become thus a message that evangelizes. Coming from a country where 99.9% of the population is Muslim and where Islam is the State religion, the term evangelization means for others: proselytism. In consequence, our Church is a silent but witnessing presence. Our faith speaks through our works of love and our life sometimes becomes a question: why do you do all this for us? Or yet, you do so many good things, but it is a pity... On the other hand, proselytism is strictly prohibited. The only way to express our faith are the signs of love. The manifestation of this love is truly evangelizing. As for interreligious dialogue, in our situation, we are considered Kafir, and Arabic depreciative term meaning a miscreant, an unbeliever, an ingrate or more an infidel. We are more tolerated than accepted. The Catholic Christian religion is considered like the Western religion. Because of this, to engage an interreligious dialogue is almost inadequate, not being on the same level. However, paraphrasing Pope Paul VI, the Church exists to evangelize, this is her vocation and her deepest identity. And we know full well that the Spirit breathes and nobody knows his paths. Thus, up to this level, the only possibility that we can use, who makes a first step towards contact and which would be a future opening to the said dialogue is friendship. In fact, in this relationship of friendship, we are convinced that we can learn what each is and the other can discover also who we are. These relationships of friendship are possible and do exist. This is where we can discover that Islam is tolerant. It is fanaticism and fundamentalism that give it a completely different appearance. However, to maintain the faith of the small minority we are, I would say that it represents a drop in the Indian Ocean. This last, cannot make it move. Thus, the path to be explored is the family. This, the basic cell of the whole body is the privileged place for a deep evangelization. A problem that concerns us is Catholics marrying Muslims. This problem concerns above all Catholic women who have married Muslims. In general, the husband or the in-law’s family does not allow them to practice their faith or even makes them convert to Islam. Many end up practicing neither of these religions.

[00296-02.03] [IS222] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Salutaris Melchior LIBENA, Bishop of Ifakara (TANZANIA)

The youth constitute the larger population of the Christian faithful in the AMECEA region. Many of them live in uncertainty, fear, helplessness, despair and hopelessness because of the social, economic and political challenges affecting them. However, the Church is unable to prepare them adequately to face the arising questions of the world today.
On the other side, young people are seeking to know and understand their relationship with Christ. They are seeking to have a place and their role in the life of the Church. Not as spectators, but as real protagonists on their frontier of their own world and life experiences. Despite many efforts to enhance the pastoral ministry of young people, still many drift away from the Church.
Dynamic and relevant faith approaches to youth ministry need to be designed, while apostolate and animation of the existing youth movements need to be strengthened. Youth movements/associations should be in every parish to enable youth to discern the spirit of God. Suitable youth chaplains ought to be appointed to accompany them in all their stages of human and spiritual growth. In all institutions of learning, programs should be offered regularly on faith. Since the group is facing very rapid changes in society, then media apostolate needs to be stepped up.
Young people are the future of the Church everywhere on this planet and so must feature prominently in all programmes of evangelization. The pastoral care of the youth must clearly be made a part of the overall pastoral plan of all parishes and dioceses so that young people will be able to discover at an early stage the value of the gift of self, an essential means for the person to reach maturity. All of us have a role to play in drawing young people to Christ and in building the Kingdom of God. The most effective means are through personal witness, friendship, sacramental celebrations, prayer and group activities.'Therefore we have no choice as a Church but to take the question of youth and faith seriously.

[00297-02.04] [IS223] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Virginio Domingo BRESSANELLI, S.C.I., Bishop of Neuquén (ARGENTINA)

PASTORAL CONVERSION should be understood as a process and a journey of the entire Christian community and plurality that is opened to the signs of our time, is called to testify in the world the love of God and fraternal charity, to make the announcement of Jesus Christ and offer full life in Him.
In other words, it is an attitude of each Particular Church (cf. CD11) that, in a Synodal form, in the unity of all its members, and in the diversity of charisma, vocations and ministries, undertakes mutually in missionary pastoral action, acting as ecclesiastical body of Christ, which in communion with the universal Church, is in charge of the mission that the Lord entrusted. It is rooted in two bases: the universal vocation to holiness and the mission (cf. RM90).
It calls the Church to settle pastorally in the spirit and the horizon of Vatican II. For instance: to see the world with faith, love and compassion - to opt Christologically for the poor. The Church belongs to all, but especially to the poor - always bet for the path of dialogue, active and purposeful - Motivate the full integration of laymen and women in all areas of the world and recognize a true ecclesiastical participation and responsibility, deeply valuing the role of the woman in the transmission of the faith. - Exercise inside the authority as a service, as a servant of Christ.
This conversion should affects us all: Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Consecrated, Lay people. There can be no pastoral conversion without the converting pastors themselves. - The Church asks to review the validity and latest pastoral structures to verify their effectiveness in evangelizing (cf. NMI 44). Aparecida calls “expired structure” all that pastoral reality which facilitates the evangelization but becomes an obstacle for communicating the gifts of encountering Christ. The missionary renewal of the Church, commits and calls all and asks for the “abandoning the old structures that no longer contribute to the transmission of faith” (DA 365).
Pastoral conversion asks of the Church the capacity and humbleness of purifying constantly her memory; this requires creativity and parrhesia in order to discover new paradigms of the evangelization in a society that is changing its reference points. It is a grace that we must ask in prayer to the Holy Spirit, who is the main center of attention of the Evangelization.

[00298-02.04] [IS224] [Original text: Spanish]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Kieran Thomas CONRY, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (GREAT BRITAIN (ENGLAND AND WALES)

The global economy has changed the world in which we try to preach the gospel, and that global economy does not share or recognise many of our gospel values.
The crisis facing the Church may result from our inability to recognise what has been happening, or address it sooner. We may have been too complacent. It is now a matter of urgency.
We need first to offer our faithful people encouragement in their struggles to remain true to their calling and give them back confidence and pride in being Catholic, to acknowledge the good work being done in our families, parishes and schools as centres of evangelisation and sources of hope.
We also need to find a more simple and accessible way to express our beliefs, so that our people in turn can articulate and communicate what they believe. We need to walk more closely beside them and understand their needs.
This situation is nothing new. We are living the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, the valley of the dry bones. This is a precious moment, this Synod and the Year of Faith, to seize the opportunity, with courage and imagination, to put flesh back on those bones.

[00300-02.04] [IS226] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. György UDVARDY, Bishop of Pécs (HUNGARY)

In the city of Pécs, there is a great big square in front of the cathedral where almost every evening young people gather around the walls and ledges of the church. They talk, play and sometimes shout, sometimes just fool around having fun. Looking at them, I often feel perplexed or sometimes scornful but most of all I feel a sense of responsibility: they are the “starving crowd”. Plucking up my courage, several times I have gone down to meet with them. I was surprised by their openness: they accepted my initiative towards a relationship with joy and they told me enthusiastically about their studies, living conditions, worries, joys, relationships. They also asked many honest questions about the meaning of life, reason and the truth. They were especially curious about my personal opinion, too: “Bishop, tell us what you really think!” They want to know Jesus. One of the youths said to me: “Don’t tell me how Christ the Son of God was good, but tell me how Jesus lived as a human being, how he was able to love and be an obedient Son!” Another spoke to me in this way: “I’m tired of how everyone explains all the different opinions there are on things. If I look at it this way, it’s like this, from the other view, it’s different: tell me simply what is good, what I have to do! Teach us!”
Since then, many of them have begun to participate in First Friday catecheses as well as silent Eucharistic adoration. During these times, many of them confess or ask questions of the priests who are present there. At the end we pray the litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which they love, and the meeting concludes with agape.
I learn a great deal from these evening meetings, through these youth: on how to announce the Gospel, on the New Evangelization. But most of all I learn from the Master who, according to the story of the disciples on their way to Emmaus, accompanies our journey and interprets and illumines the events of our lives. Allow me to highlight a few elements, such as the following:
I must seek new ways, perhaps unusual ways of relating to people, in such a way that I may unite myself to their journey; listen to people’s questions and guide them towards reason, towards rationality; I must continue to learn to formulate in a personal and convincing way the Church’s teachings so that these are not mere opinions but rather true certainty; I must seek opportunities to systematically expose the teachings of the Church; I must seek both old and new expressions that might help people in prayer, in the consecration of each day of their lives; I must search for opportunities to celebrate the Sacraments (especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation) in order to worthily adore the Eucharist.

[00302-02.04] [IS228] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Olorunfemi ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of Abuja (NIGERIA)

First of all, I wish to thank very sincerely the Holy Father and this august assembly for the concern about and prayers for our country Nigeria, so often in the news about religious and social clashes with considerable loss of lives and property. We continue to count on your prayers for us.
Despite the impression often given by the world media, I want to stress that Christians in Nigeria do not see themselves as being under any massive persecution by Muslims. Our population of about 160 million is made up of Christians and Muslims in equal number and influence. We have not done too badly in living peacefully together in the same nation. We believe we have learnt some lessons which may be useful for the rest of the world on Christian-Muslim relations.
In this regard, I wish to draw the attention of this synod to the following points:a) The irreversible process of “globalization” mentioned in the IL 47 means that our New Evangelization will need to take note of the arrival of Islam on the world stage. Since our two religions now embrace a major portion of humanity, we have a shared responsibility to work for peace and harmony with ourselves and in our world of today.
b) The differences between Islam and Christianity are not negligible. But there are also broad areas of common grounds about which Vat. II in Nostrae Aetate 3, reminds us. The new evangelization will entail working together for the promotion of commonly shared values, in a world that is very much in need of such values.
c) Our two religions claim to have a divine mission to embrace all humanity.
As we find ourselves in the same “global village”, we have to find ways of reconciling our sense of world mission with our God-given duty to live in peace with our fellow human beings. We must continue to insist on freedom of conscience as a fundamental human right of every citizen of every nation.
d) Our Nigerian experience teaches us that there are many kinds of Muslims.
In the new evangelization, we need to know our Muslim neighbours and keep an open mind to those who are friendly, and they are in the majority. We have to work together to make sure that the fanatics do not dictate the agenda of our mutual relations, pushing us to be enemies of one another.
e) There is an ecumenical dimension to interfaith relations. Drawing from the solid principles of our magisterium, we must try to forge a common approach in dealing with our Muslim counterparts. Most of our problems are caused by the reckless utterances and activities of extremist fringe groups on both sides of the divide.

[00331-02.03] [IS230] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Gerard Tlali LEROTHOLI, O.M.I., Archbishop of Maseru, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)

The mission of the Church is the mission of God and the Holy Spirit is the first agent of evangelization. He precedes any human initiative. He is a dynamic and irresistible force within and outside the Church. He moves wherever He wills and ours is to pay attention to his movements. There is no time when He is never with the Church. As He was with the Church at first Pentecost, He is still there today. Fifty years ago, it is the same Spirit that moved Blessed John XXIII to convene the Second Vatican Council. I believe it is the same Spirit that moved Pope Benedict XVI to call for this synod on New Evangelization. This is the same Spirit that animates the Catholic Church in Lesotho as it celebrates 150 years of her evangelization this year 2012.
The focus of this synod is the transmission of the Christian Faith. I wish to highlight the following stages necessary for the transmission of the faith. There are five distinct but inseparable stages. 1) Belief in Christ: The Christian faith means far more that being baptized or going to Church. It is more than adhering to a code of conduct. It is a personal, not private, relationship with the person of Christ which results in the conversion of heart and mind of mind and heart. As relationship it need to be nourished and sustained. This is where the challenge is with most of our people. 2) Belonging to His Church: Christians are not only called to believe but also to belong fully to the Church the body of Christ. This is about the whole question of membership of the Church. The Church is the family of God where each member as a specific role to play and a particular mission to accomplish. 3) Becoming His disciple and witness: As members of Christ’s body, we are therefore His hands, feet, eyes and heart. We need to represent him well by imitating his way of living. He associated with people from all walks of life without any discrimination. He broke down cultural, racial, economic and social walls that the world upholds. His approach to life was unique and counter-cultural. He was often accused of eating with sinners and tax-collectors. 4) Behaving accordingly: Christian faith is no free for all kind of life. It includes both conduct and character. This is most controversial part of being Christian. There are clearly Christian ethical and moral standards that a Christian must live by. As there are unacceptable ways of behaving. The acid test of our credibility lies here. Do we match our actions with our words, our creed with our deeds? Finally we can only tell other about our faith if we are fully convinced ourselves. This is clearly the realm of evangelization. It is no option for Christians. It is an imperative of Christian calling. We are called to be sent. I wish this Synod would pay more attention to these stages as reflect on New Evangelization.

[00332-02.03] [IS231] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Ebebe AYAH, Bishop of Ogoja (NIGERIA)

I am glad to share with you the joys and anxieties of the Nigerian Church in recent times as she struggles to witness to Christ in the face of terrorism popularly known as Boko Haram. This situation challenges the Nigerian Christian to a deeper reflection and appreciation of the value of martyrdom which the church holds in high esteem. As against the gospel of prosperity, the Nigerian Catholic, in particular, has come to understand the true meaning of the Cross as a sharing in the sufferings of Christ. And life in itself is translated as a pilgrimage of faith with the Lord Jesus to Calvary. Being a Christian within the Nigerian context, therefore, goes beyond ordinary church attendance on Sunday.
A more Nuanced perspective on the Boko Haram phenomenon in Nigeria:
Interesting to note is the fact that not only Christians have lost their lives from the bombs and bullets unleashed by Boko Haram. But even a good number of Muslims too, as some statistical data show.
It is not every Muslim who cherishes what Boko Haram is seeking to perpetuate in Nigerian. Many admire the Christian virtues of Love and peace, which they claim are equally enshrined in the Koran.
Many of our Muslim brothers and sisters long to convert to the Christian faith but cannot achieve this, for fear of losing their lives. As the universal church celebrates the year of Faith, the Nigerian Bishops call on their flocks to observe the following:
That we Catholics exercise patience in our dealings with those who oppose and fight against our interests as well as not resorting to violence, more so, as a retaliatory measure.
That we continue to talk peace to our detractors, seeking meaningful and mature ways of dialoguing that can bring about lasting; peace and concord, with time.
That our efforts at working toward dialogue and peace should not be interpreted as weakness, but rather as a sign of strength which comes from the Lord Jesus, who is our resurrection and life.
That we promote sound catechesis at home, schools and small Christian communities.
Finally, we commend our every effort for lasting peace into the hands of our blessed mother, the Mediatrix of all graces.

[00333-02.03] [IS232] [Original text: English]

- Rev. F. Gregory GAY, C.M., Superior General of the Congregation for the Mission (Lazarites)

The document Instrumentum Laboris for New Evangelization offers a central truth: “Announcing and proclaiming is not the task of anyone person or a select few, but rather a gift given to every person who answers the call to faith” (IL, # 92).
This truth came alive for me some thirty years ago when I was called to our Vincentian mission in the Republic of Panama. There, I experienced a Church alive; a church making sincere efforts to adapt the teachings of Vatican II to the reality of life in Latin America. At that time, I said, “This is the Church I want to be a part of. This is the Church envisioned by Vatican II”. Working collegially with bishops, diocesan clergy, religious men and women, and the laity to achieve a common good in the service of the Church and the world has been both the promise and gift of Vatican II for me. The Church of Latin America continues to inculturate the Gospel. In order to proclaim the gift of faith and strengthen the Church’s renewal, there are three moments of encounter. I consider crucial for new evangelization.
A moment of presence: Those whom God puts in our path reveal the person of Jesus Christ, especially the poor, marginalized, and abandoned. In the Presence of God, we gain strength to be present to all members of the Body of Christ in a courageous and prophetic way.
A moment to listen: Listening also has two contemplative moments. The inner moment is given to the Word of God, and the experience of the poor. In this ‘inner room’ of our soul, we allow the person of Jesus to enter the quiet of our hearts to accompany us in our daily journey. This leads us to the outer rooms of deeper relationship with the world and one another.
A moment of service: New evangelization calls us forth and unites us with an enduring element of our faith: love of God and service of neighbor. Service in Jesus’ name is about action and advocacy, not only on behalf of the poor, but together with the poor.
A pathway to service by virtue: We evangelize by entering into the world of the poor, and by growing in the virtues of humility, simplicity, charity, and justice. This is at the heart of our Vincentian heritage. The preferential option for the poor is fundamental for new evangelization. A pathway to action: With love for God and the poor who image his Son Jesus, we can bring new evangelization to fruition by revitalized popular missions. With religious, clergy and laity collaborating, we evangelize by being present, listening, and serving in the way of Jesus Christ, the first evangelizer.

[00334-02.03] [IS233] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Otto SEPARY, Bishop of Aitape (PAPUA NEW GUINEA)

The Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands is relatively very young. We are experiencing a lot of anti-Christian attitudes and behavior in almost all the sectors of our society even though we are Christian countries. This presupposes that the task of evangelization perhaps has not taken root in the hearts and life of every Christian people.
The new Evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith proposes a new era of hope for the awakening of the Catholic faith in life of the people in the ongoing process of evangelization. Besides the Sacramental life of the Church, the celebrations of the sacred liturgies and the other related means, events opportunities and possibilities in which we experience personal encounter with Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, there is also an urgent need for the Evangelizers to do a little bit more in order to transmit the Christian faith deeper in the life of people in the face of numerous anti-Christian behavior and attitudes. Therefore, I humbly propose two equally important pastoral tasks as way forward. First is the deeper Christianization of our Melanesian cultures and second is the urgent need for the Catholic population to be catechized with the New Catechism of the Catholic Church in all sectors of the Parish and the Diocese. By doing so, there is a high possibility of the Christian faith becoming more mature and deeply rooted in the hearts and life of the Catholic population, especially in our younger population.

[00325-02.04] [IS235] [Original text: English]


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