structures are only helpful when there is a life
constantly driving, sustaining and assessing
them. Without new life and an authentic evan-
gelical spirit, without the Church’s “fidelity to her
own calling”, any new structure will soon prove
An ecclesial renewal which cannot be deferred
27. I dream of a “missionary option”, that is,
a missionary impulse capable of transforming
everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways
of doing things, times and schedules, language
and structures can be suitably channeled for the
evangelization of today’s world rather than for
her self-preservation. The renewal of structures
demanded by pastoral conversion can only be
understood in this light: as part of an effort to
make them more mission-oriented, to make or-
dinary pastoral activity on every level more in-
clusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers
a constant desire to go forth and in this way to
elicit a positive response from all those whom
Jesus summons to friendship with himself. As
John Paul II once said to the Bishops of Oceania:
“All renewal in the Church must have mission as
its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of eccle-
sial introversion”.
II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Ecclesia in Oceania
(22 November 2001), 19: AAS 94 (2002), 390.
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