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


24 - 19.10.2012






The Reports of the Working Groups presented by the Relators of this morning’s Seventeenth General Congregation which arrived after the closing of Bulletin N. 23 are published below.

- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP GALLICUS B: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Claude DAGENS, Archbishop of Angoulême (FRANCE)

- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP HISPANICUS B: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Santiago Jaime SILVA RETAMALES, Titular Bishop of Bela, Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso, General Secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.A.M.) (COLOMBIA)


The summaries of the Reports by the Working Groups are published below:

- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP GALLICUS B: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Claude DAGENS, Archbishop of Angoulême (FRANCE)

1. We come from 18 different nationalities and we all speak French. I will tell the French Academy this as soon as possible!
2. Speaking of the terms which we use
- is it necessary to speak of “new evangelization” or rather of a renewed evangelization, or even a renewal or deepening of evangelization?
- The current work of evangelization is part of a history that precedes us by many centuries.
3. From a theological point of view, we would like it to emphasize more the action of the Holy Spirit in evangelization with its two particular characteristics:
After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is given to the Church in order to move towards “the entire truth” and to face new situations.
- The Holy Spirit renders the disciples of Christ participants in his Paschal mystery of death and resurrection.
- Prayer to the Holy Spirit is necessary in every kind of evangelization.
4. Faced with an explosive world, can we proclaim a word of hope that reaches men and women in their difficult situations?
We need to learn to see the world in its labor pains (cf. Rm 8:18 ff), under the sign of the Paschal mystery.
5. In the various countries from which we come, relationships with Muslims require us to be particularly vigilant.
Even in countries in which it is not possible to evangelize freely, it is possible to live the Gospel of Christ and to give witness to Christ.
It cannot be ignored that there is a crisis of Islam which sometimes compensates for itself with attitudes of conquest.
6. In Africa what can hinder evangelization are phenomena linked to secularization as well as the presence of a deeply rooted religiosity which itself asks to be evangelized.
7. We adhere to this affirmation which is contained in the Relatio post disceptationem (end of the third part):
“the New Evangelization was recognized as not just a program for the moment but a way of looking at the future of the Church and seeing all of us engaged in inviting, first ourselves to a renewal of the faith and then all those around us into the joyful acceptance of life in the Risen Christ.”

[00349-02.03] [CM004] [Original text: French]

- RELATION OF THE WORKING GROUP HISPANICUS B: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Santiago Jaime SILVA RETAMALES, Titular Bishop of Bela, Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso, General Secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.A.M.) (COLOMBIA)

1) Theological-pastoral identity of the New Evangelization
We must ask ourselves: why a New Evangelization? If it is “new”, then what have the Christian peoples lost? As Church, what did we not know to offer?
Let us underline the pneumatological foundation of the New Evangelization, a foundation that must have a close relationship with Christology and anthropology. It is not possible to accomplish the New Evangelization without being open to the action of the Holy Spirit and his grace, since it is He who grants the charisms for announcing Jesus Christ and for service as disciples of Jesus. The Spirit is the one who will provide the joy and delight with which we must evangelize.
Without an ecclesiology, that is, without a self-understanding and a way of being in the contemporary world which deepens the teachings of Vatican Council II, the Church will not be able to engage in a New Evangelization. It is essential to define the “present-day Church-world” relationship. If we do not do this, we will continue to give the impression of being an “institution” and not an assembly congregated around Jesus Christ, in whom every human thing finds welcome. This community of faith and missionary disciples in service to the world (diakonia) is that which has received the mission to announce it.
An appropriate ecclesiology goes hand-in-hand with a profound examination of conscience of the Church with regard to herself. We do not speak of the New Evangelization only because the others have changed. The moment has arrived in which to ask ourselves: What are the sins of the Church which have led us to a New Evangelization? A status quaestionis of the Church in herself and her place in the world is inevitable at the moment of a New Evangelization.
Communion is the source and the fruit of the New Evangelization, since the Triune God, from whom the Church proceeds and which the Church must announce, is relationship and communion and above all because we currently live in a particularly individualistic society. This Trinitarian communion is what renders communion between us effective and is the point from which the mission must spring forth. This aspect, too, is essentially Trinitarian.
2) The centrality of the Word of God in the New Evangelization
Salvation history is comprised of the words and works of God in dialogue with human realities with the aim of offering salvation, which is a Divine initiative and gift. In the fullness of time, God is revealed as the eternal Word made flesh (Jn 1:14). The Word full of life and truth which is contained in the Sacred Scriptures is the content of the announcement and therefore of the New Evangelization. This is why the Word of God incarnate is the source of the New Evangelization, not only with regard to the contents but also the method and style.
This Synod should place itself in intimate union with Verbum Dominum showing the way in which the Word of God Incarnate, entrusted to Sacred Scripture, is the “bridge” between the Divine mystery that we want to proclaim and the human realities of every day.
Some contents, subjects, recipients and styles of the New Evangelization.
The source of the New Evangelization is the Triune God. He who evangelizes is God the Father who, out of love, traces his saving plan for humanity; it is the Holy Spirit who renders possible the communion with God the Savior in the bosom of the Church and in the heart of the faithful; it is the Spirit who accompanies and supports the evangelizers.
The New Evangelization has as its content the announcement through the word and testimony of the Risen Christ, living, close, source of love. This announcement and testimony have to lead to the personal encounter with Him and, in Him, with the Father.
The family is a setting of fundamental importance when we think of who has to be evangelized (the recipient), but also when we think of who has to evangelize (the subject). In the family the children are the first recipients of the evangelization of the evangelized parents.
It is indispensable to make the most of and reinforce the work of the catechists and catechesis. With well-trained catechists, it is possible to develop a catechesis that is intended and practiced as a process of discipleship, that is, as a real experience of faith in following the Lord. For this process there is a need for intelligible means (languages) for addressing the people of today, bearing in mind the aspirations and cultures of all.
Without the evangelizing role of the lay faithful in its proper context, which is the management of family, social, political, economic and cultural life, there will be no New Evangelization. They therefore require an integral formation and an effective recognition of the fact that they are also responsible in the work of the Kingdom. The vocation and mission of lay people demands a profound reflection on the theological value of laicism, of their place in the world, especially in the new aeropaghi, and of their participation in the Church. As regards this, it would be appropriate to examine what services to entrust to the lay people, bearing in mind the New Evangelization and new scenarios.
The style of the New Evangelization is a joyful, attractive and audacious testimony of faith; therefore the new style of evangelization is not characterized by its being “imposed” but by its “attracting”.
A poor Church is evangelizing that renews the option for the poor and the marginalized, like Christ Jesus, because they are the privileged recipients of his salvation. “I did not come to call the just, but the sinners.”
The language, as a means for communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ, requires special attention. We need to examine our consciences about the use of language and our capacity to express ourselves or otherwise, in a world that is home to new languages. Our language is guilty of clericalism.
A renewal of the particular Church is required and, in its bosom, a renewal of the parish, to make it a home of school and communion, an ecclesial place of spirituality, in which we accept communion and co-responsibility in the mission of the Church, even more so today, when the person is losing strength and appears as an individual or part of the mass. The New Evangelization passes through the parish with a “new face”, capable of accompanying people in faith and the personal and affective world, the thing that is most missing in our society of today. Parishes should be a network of ecclesial communities which, in their concrete settings, sustain faith in Jesus Christ and his followers and, for the same reason, the growth in the overall human dimension. These are the “ecclesial bodies” (the parishes and their communities) to be called to show the Risen Lord who gives life and meaning to existence. Perhaps the most pressing problem of the New Evangelization is the formation and accompanying of these little ecclesial communities.

[00353-02.03] [CM009] [Original text: Spanish]


The New Evangelization is not a strategy or programme, but an invitation to an encounter and
life-long relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It involves falling in love with the person of Jesus Christ and his bride, the Catholic Church. This encounter with Christ takes place in and through the Church so as not to foster a false dichotomy between spirituality and religion. Encounters with Christ in the Church help the faithful to understand the need for salvation and forgiveness from sin. Following the initial encounter with Christ, the faithful desire to spend time with the beloved in prayer, sacrament and to contemplate the face of God (Novo Millennio Ineunte).
Hence, the Synod Fathers might propose a lifelong accompaniment of each Catholic on their journey of faith modelled on Christ's walk with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. The faithful need the continued work of systematic, comprehensive and lifelong catechesis. Evangelization and catechesis should help the faithful know, understand, live and share the faith. A catechesis for youth and adults that is age-appropriate and presented in an appealing and apologetic manner that answers the genuine questions of those participating in their formation would enhance the New Evangelization. This basic presentation of the fundamentals of our faith, as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in an attractive and appealing manner, for example at World Youth Day, will help to revive a confidence in the faith and a greater ability to share it with others.
Fostering some practical initiatives would assist the New Evangelization and catechesis: Lectio Divina, teaching prayer, making the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacrament of Penance more readily available (perhaps through offering the Sacrament at new times and on a consistent basis during Lent or Advent), pilgrimages, sharing the stories of the saints and martyrs, and making known the excellent work and ministry undertaken by Catholic institutions and apostolates.
We discussed presenting the Sacraments in a new light aimed at reaching contemporary society. The preparation for individual sacraments should model the catechumenate and allow for personal encounters with Christ and the proclamation of the kerygma. Small Christian communities can help to connect people to one another, allowing for prayer and reflection on the Scriptures.
We encourage the Synod Fathers to pray for a New Pentecost for the whole Church and to better understand the ways in which the Holy Spirit is working in the Church and lives of Catholics and other Christians. We stressed the importance of Liturgy well-celebrated and homilies that inspire and share the faith in a compelling manner. This will require formation for the clergy in liturgy, homiletics, and the New Evangelization since they are formators for the new evangelizers.
In order to be effective evangelists, the laity need better preparation for evangelization. This should include doctrine, helping evangelists share the faith, perhaps through a wider use of images, suitable for the people they serve, some of whom may be illiterate; humility, acquiring the ability to articulate one's story of faith and testimony of Christ.
Our group would wish to encourage bishops, priests and permanent deacons to know the lives of the people they serve in a more personal way. The bishop is an evangelist who leads by example and shares with all the baptized the blessings of being called to evangelization. His ministry must have the characteristics of the shepherd (ad intra) and the fisherman (ad extra). Ongoing formation for clergy on the New Evangelization and methods for evangelization in the diocese and parish are needed.
The family is a privileged centre for the new evangelization. Catholic families are in great need of regular support and direct assistance from the Church and parish to became witnesses to the faith. Continuing inculturation of the gospel could bring together the life of Christ with the life and culture of all people. The inculturation of the Gospel involves becoming more of a welcoming Church to immigrants and those in need.
We also considered the contribution of Religious and the witness of consecrated life, the establishment of catechists as a stable ministry within the Church, the need for post-sacramental catechesis, especially following Confirmation, the wisdom of consulting our Canon Lawyers when formulating diocesan policy, the particular needs of the Deaf Community, and the management of natural resources in times of conflict or warfare.

[00355-02.03] [CM011] [Original text: English]


Return to:

- Index Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - XIII Ordinary General Assembly - 2012
  [Plurilingual, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish]

- Index Holy See Press Office
[English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]