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


05 - 08.10.2012





At 4:35 p.m. today, with the recital of the Adsumus, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Second General Congregation took place,
for the reading of the Reports on the Continents and to begin the interventions by the Synodal Fathers on the theme «The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith».

The Acting President Delegate
was H. Em. Card. John TONG HON, Bishop of Hong Kong (CHINA).

A period for free discussion by the Synodal Fathers followed.

At this General Congregation, which ended at 19:00 p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini, 256 Fathers were present.


- For Europe: H. Em. Rev. Card. Péter ERDÕ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)
- For Africa: H. Em. Rev. Card. Polycarp PENGO, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM - SECAM) (TANZANIA)
- For America: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Carlos AGUIAR RETES, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.AM.) (MEXICO)
- For Asia: H. Em. Rev. Card. Oswald GRACIAS, Archbishop of Bombay, General Secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) (INDIA)
- For Oceania: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Atcherley DEW, Archbishop of Wellington, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) (NEW ZELAND)

The Interventions on the Continents are published below:

- For Europe: H. Em. Rev. Card. Péter ERDÕ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)

1. Europe must be evangelized. It needs it. Two Special Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops have already been dedicated to the topic of Europe. The first one after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in a climate of enthusiasm. The second in 1999, at the dawning of the Great Jubilee. The fruit of this last one was summarized in the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" by the Blessed John Paul II. In the meantime, thirteen years have gone by. Have the hopes been achieved? Have the problems been solved or, on the contrary, worsened?
2. Among the worrisome signals, the great Pontiff mentioned "the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage" (Ecclesia in Europa, 7). This process has even become more obvious during the last years. Despite many joyful experiences, in the majority of the continent, there is a spreading of ignorance about the Christian faith. Many of the mass-media broadcast a presentation of the Christian faith and history that is full of lies, misinforming the public as to the content of our faith as well as to what makes up the reality of the Church. Even our catechetical activity, especially that joined to the State institutions, presents many limitations. A few years ago, the European Council of Episcopal Conferences did research in all the countries of the continent on the juridical, statistical, ecclesial and cultural situation of the teaching of religion. The results reveal that in the public schools of many countries it is possible to find teachings on religion or on religions, but not on the Catholic religion. However such a teaching of religion, so-called neutral, creates rather an education in syncretism or indifference.
3. De-Christianization is accompanied by repeated juridical, as well as physical, attacks against the visible presence of the manifestations of faith.
Among the troubling signs of systematic hostility, the European Observatory of Christianophobes has noted many cases of discrimination and violence against Christians in almost all European countries. It often occurs that even the courts refuse to help the Christian victims of these attacks. The vast majority of cases of violence and of discrimination because of religious belief are acted out against Christians, especially Catholics, in Europe.
4. De-Christianization is not only a spontaneous process. If the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" could still welcome "with satisfaction all that has been done to safeguard the conditions and ways to respect human rights" (no. 12), today we must acknowledge with concern the rise of so-called "third and fourth generation human rights". They no longer have a clear connection with the human and Christian view of the world nor even with the objective morality expressed in the categories of natural law. Thus their basis is only of a human-positive order, as if man with his own opinions and desires is independent also with respect to reality itself.
The "loss of Europe's Christian memory" goes step by step with the anthropological changes that are the consequence of an audio-visual culture, but which weaken clear concepts and logical reasoning.
5. This process involves a great risk even for civic society. The "Ecclesia in Europa" (no. 12) recognizes that the "attention given to the rights" is a positive European phenomenon. Unfortunately we must take note that the state of law has been weakened during the last years in many countries. The financial crisis, especially, has made politicians take drastic measures contrary to the will of its own electors. People are often under the impression that traditional democracy is losing its meaning.
We can also find signs of an illusion according to which it is possible to govern society through the mass media and economy, completely renouncing law and morality.
6. The people of Europe, due to the demographic decrease and the aging of the population - a phenomenon investigated by the CCEE two years ago - and because of the economic crisis and the weakening of cultural and religious identity, is thirsty and hungry for hope.
The World Youth Days of Cologne and Madrid, and the pastoral visits by the Holy Father to various countries, have constituted a great sign of hope and have had an extraordinary missionary effect. The mass movement, the participation of the mass media, and the great celebrations have touched the hearts of the people, especially sensitive to this type of communication. The effects are not fleeting. On those occasions, certain participants even received their priestly or religious vocation. Even some bishops returned deeply moved by these encounters.
The city mission organized in many European centers has tried to emphasize this hope. "Who will put happiness before our eyes?" (Psa 4:7) - was the motto of the mission of Paris. "There is hope for your future after all" (Jer 31:17) - which was heard during the mission in Budapest. These missions had lasting results: apart from contacting the non believing society, this experience above all helped the parishes in rediscovering their vocation to the mission towards the inactive, but also towards non believers. Beginning last year, when - with the help of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization - we re-organized a large mission in twelve European cities, we saw with joy a spirit of initiative in many parishes. In answer to the family crisis, it was even possible to make visits to all the Catholic families in the name of the parish, entrusted by the Bishop. Many lay persons now receive the formation for this mission.
7. One can also see the precious role of some of the movements of spirituality, already mentioned in the "Ecclesia in Europa’ (no. 15). They are a true blessing to the Church, if they manage to avoid the post-modern temptation of being content with particular feelings and perceptions. The active presence in the mission of persons coming from other countries and other continents, encourages many European faithful.
8. Another sign of the times, especially promising in Europe, is the growth of volunteers in the parishes, especially for charitable works. The retired, in particular, between the ages of 65 and 75, show a moving generosity and contribute in reinforcing solidarity among generations.
9. Unfortunately, national and ethnic tensions still are present in Europe. Unresolved questions about the Balkans, the precarious situation of Catholics in Bosnia, and various conflicts connected to the phenomenon of immigration in Western Europe require a balanced testimonial and at times a patient service on the Church’s part.
We thank Divine Providence, because in the last years, reconciliation between European nations has continued, despite the aforementioned problems. Encouraged by His Holiness Benedict XVI, the episcopal conferences of Slovakia and Hungary were able to sign an act of reconciliation in 2006. Their gesture could be used as an example for society in both nations. Another courageous event was verified just a few months ago. The Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and of all of Russia, Cyril, signed an act of reconciliation with the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference in Warsaw. In it, both sides also confirmed their common intent in defending and embracing human and Christian values in Europe.
10. In this context, the most recent ecumenical results can be inserted. Despite the fact that some new communities are strongly anti-Catholic, and that other Christian environments try to reassert their identity by attacking the Catholic Church, a practical general collaboration between the churches and the Christian communities in Europe is growing. A sign of this fact is the Catholic-Orthodox European Forum which deals with today’s questions of morals and social doctrine. The encounters with the representatives of all the Orthodox Churches have expressed a vast consensus on the family and life, as to the criteria of the relationship between State and Church and the economic crisis. The spirit of brotherhood and solidarity is growing even with the Protestant communities in Europe.
11. Along with this, there is a growing consciousness of unity, of brotherhood and of true communion between the Catholic bishops of Latin and Oriental rite.
Therefore we ask for the light of the Holy Spirit for the work of this Synod and for all of new evangelization. Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

[00013-02.07] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]

- For Africa: H. Em. Rev. Card. Polycarp PENGO, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM - SECAM) (TANZANIA)

I am speaking in the name of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).
Evangelization has taken place in the African Continent from the very beginning of the Church. The encounter between the Ethiopian Eunuch and the Deacon Philip (cf. Acts 8: 26-39) is a case in point.
However, for most sub-Saharan Africa the task of Evangelization is of more recent occurrence so that to distinguish between Old and New Evangelization is very difficult. Yet it would seem very appropriate to speak of New Evangelization for Africa starting with the challenge posed by Pope Paul VI in 1969: "Africans, be Missionaries to yourselves." This challenge entails for us to be truly Africans and truly Catholics. That calls for a mature Church on the Continent.
To respond to the challenge, necessary Pastoral structures at national and regional levels were established or re-invigorated. In that line SECAM was established in 1969 intended to "preserve and foster communion, collaboration and joint action among all the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and the adjacent Islands". The establishment or re-invigoration of pastoral structures accounts for today's spectacular numbers of African bishops, priests, women and men religious and catechists.
A very fundamental establishment for New Evangelization in Africa is that of small Christian Communities, These have become Iiving centres of Evangelization of the present day Continent.
On the negative side, there are several factors which impede the required deepening of the faith in Africa. For example, globalization introduces rapidly undigested foreign values making it hard for the Christians on the continent to be truly Africans. Their Christian faith is thus rendered also very much alien.
Traditional values such as respect for life and close family social relations become very difficult to realize.
On the other hand, there are cultural elements in Africa which prevent proper evangelization. Among these elements one may point out perennial conflicts on tribal basis, diseases, corruption, human trafficking, the atrocity of child abuse and violence against minors and women.
Another challenging factor which New Evangelization in Africa must not overlook is the actuality of Islamic Fundamentalism on the Continent. In regard to this, the evangelizers must face the difficulty of dialoguing with the vast majority of good Muslims who however, are mute and the small groups of fundamentalists who are not prepared to accept even objective truth which is opposed to their preconceived position.
New Evangelization in Africa also demands the African evangelizers to go beyond the demand of Pope Paul VI: "Africans, be missionaries to yourselves". African Evangelization is already now missionaries in Western Churches such as the United States of America and Europe. While this is a very plausible move, one must mention the possible negative element of the evangelizers seeking in the first place material gain before genuine evangelization to the detriment of the church on either side. The church in Africa is deprived of best qualified evangelizers while the materially rich Western Church receives evangelizers whose primary aim is material gain.
With all this in mind, one can see that the Synod on New Evangelization is a most welcome event. It is as His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI put it, a call for Africa to "Stand up, take your mat and walk" (See Africae Munus, No.148). With renewed faith through this Synod, I believe, Africa can overcome the deep-seated problems facing her today.
In the light shed by the two Post Synodal Apostolic exhortations: Ecclesia in Africa of 1995 and Africae Munus of 2011 as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the Church in Africa rightly expects a rich harvest from the present Synod.

[00010-02.10] [RC002] [Original text: English]

- For America: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Carlos AGUIAR RETES, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.AM.) (MEXICO)

The great challenge: the change of age and the cultural fracture (Cfr. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 47.)
The V General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopacy (celebrated in Aparecida, Brazil in May of 2007) is placed likewise in the continuity of the II Vatican Council (The V General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopacy is a new step in the story of the Church especially since the II Ecumenical Vatican Council . It gives the continuity and, at times, summarizes the path of fidelity, renovation and evangelization of the Latin-American Church, serving her people. Document de Aparecida no.9) and calls for a deep rethinking and relaunching with fidelity and courage of the mission of the Church in the new and defiant Latin-American and world circumstances (Cf. DA, no.11). It is considered necessary to put aside the grey pragmatism of daily life of the Church to begin once again from Christ. (Cf. DA no.12).
The New Evangelization requires Ecclesial Communion.
To achieve New Evangelization and to transmit the faith to the new generations, the Church must be considered with complete honesty, through a self-examination on the way of living the faith (The proposal of a new style of life applies not only to the Pastors, but to all Christians living in America. They are asked to know more deeply and to make their own a genuine Christian spirituality. "In effect, the term spirituality means a mode or form of life in keeping with Christian demands. Spirituality is 'life in Christ' and 'in the Spirit', which is accepted in faith, expressed in love and inspired by hope, and so becomes the daily life of the Church community". (Ecclesia in America (EIA) no.29). It is necessary to examine the ecclesial life (Cfr. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 95) and its testimonial in today’s society. (The pastoral of the Church cannot ignore the historical context in which its members live. It lives in very concrete social-cultural contexts. These social and cultural transformations represent naturally new challenges for the Church in its mission of building the Kingdom of God. From this, in faithfulness to the Holy Spirit that guides it, there is a need for an ecclesial renewal, which implies spiritual and pastoral as well as institutional reforms. DA, no. 367).
Ecclesia in America states: "Faced with a divided world which is in search of unity, we must proclaim with joy and firm faith that God is communion, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unity in distinction, and that he calls all people to share in that same Trinitarian communion... This communion, present in the Church and essential to her nature, must be made visible in concrete signs" (EIA, n.33).
While the institutional organization of the Church is necessary, it is not sufficient. (The great majority of today’s humanity does not find the Gospel in the permanent Evangelization of the Church. The New Evangelization conference by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Jubilee of Catechists and professors of religion, celebrated December 10th 2000 in Rome. L’Osservatore Romano, January 21st 2001 NEJR), there is a need for the witness of a spirituality of communion (Cf. Nuovo Millenio Ineunte NMI, no. 43) which is visible in ecclesial life; for this, the participation and the communion of all the members of the Church is necessary, at all different levels and according to their responsibilities (Pastoral conversion requires that ecclesial communities be missionary disciples around Jesus Christ, Master and Shepherd. From here we see the need for an attitude of openness, dialogue and willingness to promote the mutual responsibility and effective participation by all the faithful in the life of the Christian communities. Today, more than ever, the witness of ecclesial community and holiness are a pastoral necessity. DA, no. 368), bearing witness to the art of living (for this there is a need for New Evangelization. If we ignore the art of living, everything else does not work. However this art is not the object of science; it can only be communicated by who holds life which is the Gospel in person. NE. JR).
Being conscious to generate ecclesial communion begins with pastoral conversion (pastoral conversion is the key for a New Evangelization with ardor), understood as the acceptance of the Kingdom of God and the commitment to being a disciple of Christ to proclaim him throughout the world (Mk 1:15), a commitment which requires personal conversion (personal conversion arouses the ability to submit it completely to the service of the establishment of the Kingdom of life. Bishops, priests, permanent deacons, consecrated persons, lay persons, all are called to take up an attitude of permanent pastoral conversion, which implies listening with attention and discernment "to what the Spirit is saying to the churches" Rev 2:29 through the signs of the times where God manifests Himself. DA, no. 366).
The emerging and hopeful path of New Evangelization in America.
The pastoral renovation in America, begun as a response to Vatican Council II, dynamized the internal life of the Church: the pastoral agents have multiplied, formation in the faith has intensified, participation and Eucharistic communion by the faithful at Sunday Mass has grown; thus, many and varied are the positive aspects of the pastoral renewal of the Church (Cf. DA, no 99); without reservation I can state that growth is not proportional to demographic growth of our peoples, and because of this we can find large sectors of Catholics who are distant and lukewarm in their Catholic identity, but undoubtedly believers (Cf. DA, n. 100).
Religiosity remains alive and is the great potential reserve of our peoples (a characteristic peculiar of America is the existence of deep popular piety deeply rooted in all the countries. It is present at all levels and all social sectors, having a particular importance as the place for encounter with Christ for those who with a spirit of poverty and humility of the heart seek God with sincerity Cf. Mt 11:25. EIA, no. 16). When it has as its guide the Word of God ("I am the Way; I am Truth and Life" Jn 14:6. With these words Jesus presents Himself as the only path to sanctity. However, this concrete knowledge of this itinerary can mainly be obtained through the Word of God that the Church proclaims with its preaching. EIA, n. 31), it opens up the heart of the believer to the discovery of Christ (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 21. Proclaiming God is to introduce to the relationship with God: teaching to pray. NE. JR.), allowing oneself to be captivated by the Lord of Life (The meeting with the Lord produces a deep transformation in who is open to Him. The first impulse of this transformation is to communicate to everyone else the richness acquired and the experience of this encounter. EIA, no. 68) and fully accepting joining the Church with greater awareness as a member of a community of missionary disciples who practice a Christian spirituality (The following of Christ has a very high goal: identifying oneself with Christ, joining in the union with God. NE. JR), which allows the sanctification of its members for communion with God the Father and the Holy Spirit (Sanctity is the aim of the journey of conversion, then it is not an end in itself but a journey towards God who is holy. To be holy is to be like God and to glorify his name in the works which we accomplish in our lives (cf. Mt 5:16). EIA, no. 30).
The small communities in relationship with each other are learning the convenience of communication and communion. The Parish renews itself showing a new face of the Church which grows and develops with strength (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, nos. 80 and 107), when the Parish organically relates with the others and, joined, they are led as a Diocese by their Bishop (One way of renewing parishes, especially urgent for parishes in large cities, might be to consider the parish as a community of communities and movements. EIA, no. 41). This dynamic of ecclesial communion has never been so urgent and indispensible as in the cities and the large urban areas of the metropolises (Cf. DA, no. 517, 518).
The life of the Church expressed as community of communities, in communion and unity, allows each Christian to discover that in the Xxi century it is possible to live as a disciple of Christ in a community of disciples of the Lord Jesus, become conscious as a missionary disciple of the urgent need to bear credible and trustworthy witness of faith in today’s world (Announcing conversion we must also offer a community of life, a common space for a new style of life. We cannot evangelize with words alone. The Gospel creates life, creates a journeying community. A purely individual conversion has no consistency. NE. JR).
The pastoral processes of diocesan programming are opening the spaces for the formation of the missionary disciple and the continental mission. The organic pastoral described in the Diocesan Pastoral Plan has been carried out as indicated by NMI: "It is in the local churches that the specific features of a detailed pastoral plan can be identified — goals and methods, formation and enrichment of the people involved, the search for the necessary resources — which will enable the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mould communities, and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture" (NMI, no. 29).
For this, I dare express that the New Evangelization, which is opening up in America, start out with the meeting with Christ which the Church offers to the faithful Christians (Jesus Christ is the "Good News" of salvation communicate to men of yesterday, today and forever; but at the same time He is also the first and supreme evangelizer. The Church must focus pastoral attention and its evangelizing action on the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. "Everything that is projected in the ecclesial field must begin in Christ and His Gospel) EIA, no. 67), and is linked to the discovery and the passionate and committed living of the life of the disciple (The announcement of God leads to communion with God in fraternal communion, founded and animated for Christ. NE. JR.), expression of the spirituality of communion.
In this way diocesan and parochial life moves towards family life (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 110-113), domestic Church (So that the Christian family may truly be "domestic church", it is called upon to be the field in which the parents transmit the faith, then they "must be the first preachers of the faith for their children, through the word and through the example" EIA, no. 46), mutually strengthening each other, and helping to lay the foundations to be able to confront the educational emergency of our time (Lineamenta for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 20).
The protagonists of New Evangelization
The influence of faith in society so that the reading of the Gospel permeates and gives the meaning to human life, depends in large part on the action of lay people. For this reason EIA asserts that they are the main protagonists of New Evangelization: "The renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the laity. Therefore, they are largely responsible for the future of the Church" (EIA, no. 44).
Their true and specific vocation and mission of the lay faithful is the transformation of the temporal structures, so that the social behavior is maintained in the evangelical values (Cf. Lumen gentium LG, no. 31; EIA, no. 27). From this derives the importance of the lay consciousness and formation in tune with their identity, and in a personal and community way, expresses the testimony of a life that is coherent to the convictions of faith in their living and working environments ("There are two areas in which lay people live their vocation. The first, and the one best suited to their lay state, is the secular world, which they are called to shape according to God's will. Their specific activity brings the Gospel to the structures of the world; 'working in holiness wherever they are, they consecrate the world itself to God Thanks to the lay faithful, "the presence and mission of the Church in the world is realized in a special way in the variety of charisms and ministries which belong to the laity. Secularity is the true and distinctive mark of the lay person and of lay spirituality, which means that the laity strive to evangelize the various sectors of family, social, professional, cultural and political life". EIA, no. 44).
For this it is necessary to have access to times for the promotion of the lay vocation and for accompanying them in their formation to the mission in the world (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 118).
The New Evangelization and dialogue with the world and religions.
During the Council Pope Paul VI affirmed in his first encyclical: "The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make" (Ecclesiam Suam ES, no. 65).
Today, in a world that is evermore pluralistic, dialogue opens a path in different environments, the topics that near dialogue in America are among others: the Word of God, Human Dignity, the Family, Life, Education, Ethics, Economy, Development of Peoples, Human Mobility and in particular Migration, Solidarity, Ecology, Justice and Peace. In all the themes guiding force is the Truth (Faithfulness to man demands faithfulness to the truth, which is the only guarantee of freedom cf. Jn 8:32 and of the possibility for an integral human development. For this reason the Church seeks it, announces it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. For the Church, this mission of truth is irrenounceable. Caritas in Veritate, no. 9).
The educational (In the global project of Ne3w Evangelization, the field of education occupies a privileged place. For this, the activities of all Catholic teachers must be encouraged, including those who teach in non denominational schools. Also, I address an urgent all to the consecrated persons so that they do not give up a field so important for new evangelization... The family is the first place a person is educated. EIA, no. 71), social and cultural institutions must have strategic occasions to promote, coordinate and articulate the participation of lay people in the world.
Fundamental points of the New Evangelization.
The main challenge of New Evangelization.
To announce Jesus Christ in the language and in the cultural forms of the new technologies of social communication (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 59-62).
The technological-pastoral axis of the new evangelization
Assume the mission of the Church as the continuation of the dynamism of the mystery of the Incarnation (the mystery of the Incarnation lays the foundations for an anthropology which, reaching beyond its own limitations and contradictions, moves towards God himself, indeed towards the goal of "divinization". This occurs through the grafting of the redeemed on to Christ and their admission into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life. NMI, no. 23) in the spirit of Gaudium et spes (cf. Gaudium et spes , nos. 1-4) and according to the indications of the Novo Millennio Ineunte (NMI, no. 3): in each local Church, "
gathered around their Bishop, as they listen to the word and "break bread" in brotherhood (cf. Acts 2:42), the "one holy Catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative". It is above all in the concrete reality of each Church that the mystery of the one people of God assumes that special shape that renders it adherent to single contexts and cultures. This rooting of the Church in time and space reflects, in the fianl analysis, the movement itself of the Incarnation.
Responsibility of the pastoral agents
1. Pastoral conversion (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 88) and a change of mentality in the clergy, the consecrated and the pastoral agents, favoured, above all, by the awareness of current social and cultural challenges, and accompanied by an assiduous reading of and meditation on the Word of God (this reading of the Bible, accompanied by prayer, is known in the tradition of the Church as lectio divina, and it is a practice to be encouraged among all Christians. For priests, the lectio divina must be a basic feature of the preparation of their homilies, especially the Sunday homily EIA, no. 31).
2. The preparation and celebration of the Eucharist (the Eucharist is the living and lasting center around which the entire community of the Church gathers. The various aspects of the Eucharist reveal its inexhaustible wealth: it is at one and the same time a Sacrament of Sacrifice, Communion and Presence. The Eucharist is the outstanding moment of encounter with the living Christ. EIA, no. 35), of all the cultural services (cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no.97), and of the religious practices of popular piety so that they might become spaces and instances of meeting with Christ and our brothers.
3. An organic pastoral for the participation and communion in the dioceses (the diocese, presided over by the bishop, is the first setting for communion and mission. It has to promote a renewed and vigorous organic pastoral action, in such a way that the variety of charisms, ministries, services and organizations are directed towards the same missionary project to communicate life in its own area. This project which is born from a journey of varied participation, renders the organic pastoral possible, and capable of facing new challenges. DA, no. 69) and in the ecclesiastical provinces (cf. EIA, nos. 36-37).
Responsibility of the community of the faithful
1. To adopt the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as a foundation for the formation of the faithful (faced with the grave social problems which, with different characteristics, are present throughout America, Catholics know that they can find in the Church's social doctrine an answer which serves as a starting-point in the search for practical solutions. Spreading this doctrine is an authentic pastoral priority.EIA, no. 54).
2. Express community Christian life in the life of the disciples of small communities in participation and communion (the vocation of missionary discipleship is a con-vocation with communion it the Church. There can be no discipleship without communion. Faith frees us from the isolation of the ego because it leads us to communion. This means that a constitutive element of the Christian eent is belonging to a concrete community in which we can live a permanent experience of discipleship and communion with the successors of the Apostles and with the pope. DA, no. 156).
3. Define and plan the processes of Christian formation (cf. EIA, nos. 34 and 69) to guide the faithful in a pedagological way in the mystogogical paths that allow the believer to enter into the experience of the Mystery of God (cf. NMI, nos. 32/34).
Responsibility of the world’s lay people
1. Come together and support each other so that they can act in their own areas of social living, actively and passively bearing witness (Cf. Instrumentum laboris for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, no. 158) to the convictions of faith and their Catholic identity (as a consequence, "the lay faithful too, precisely as members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel: they are prepared for this work by the sacraments of Christian initiation and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit". They have been "in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetic and kingly functions of Christ". Consequently, "the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church" and so should feel called and encouraged to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. Jesus' words: "You too, go into the vineyard" (Mt 20:4), must be seen as addressed not only to the Apostles but to all who desire to be authentic disciples of the Lord. EIA, no. 66).
2. Seek dialogue with the public and private institutions to collaborate in bringing about the common good and to create a culture (my predecessor Paul VI, with wise inspiration, highlighted that the "The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time". Rightly, though, the Synodal fathers felt that "the new evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious and well organized effort to evangelize culture". EIA, no. 70), based on the dignity of man (it is appropriate to recall that the foundation on which all human rights rest is the dignity of the person. EIA, no. 57).
3. Employ new communications technologies to allow the life and mission of the Church to be known and for dialogue with the world (it is essential to have a deep understanding of the culture of our time in which the social communications media are most influential. Therefore, knowledge and use of the media, whether the more traditional forms or those which technology has produced in recent times, is indispensable. EIA, no. 72).
4. Make use of social networks to spread Catholic thought and its current ansers to the cultural challenges, in particular when dealing with the younger generations (in fact, while many young people in America are searching for true meaning in life and are thirsting for God... The resulting sense of frustration...leads them to abandon the search for God. Faced with this complex situation, "the Church is committed to maintaining her pastoral and missionary commitment to young people, so that they will encounter today the living Jesus Christ" (EIA, no. 47).
The pastoral conversion continues in the continental mission, an undertaking assumed at Aparecida by the Latin-American and Caribbean episcopate. For this reason in America, the New Evangelization is identified with the continental mission.

[00011-02.29] [RC013] [Original text: Spanish]

- For Asia: H. Em. Rev. Card. Oswald GRACIAS, Archbishop of Bombay, General Secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) (INDIA)

Asia is a continent experiencing the hopes and joys of a constant rebirth in the Spirit (Ecclesia in Asia). We all know that 60% of the world's population lives in Asia. It is a young continent with a majority of the population young. And hence in several ways Asia is very central for the future of the world. India and China which have 37% of the world's population are emerging as major players on the international scene in many fields.
There is hardly any uniformity in the Asian scene and so it is difficult to define what Asianness is. We see high economic development levels in some countries like Japan. South Korea, Taiwan; rising development in other countries; and some countries struggling with poverty. Asia is blessed with a richness of cultures, ancient and well developed. It is also the cradle of many of the world's religions. Would this be because of the deep rooted spiritual nature of the Asian soul which constantly seeks the Absolute?
The Churches of Asia have identified three thrust areas for our work because of the three major challenges facing us. So we need to have a dialogue with cultures, a dialogue with the poor and a dialogue with religions: to study what the Gospel mandate means to us in our relationship with these three major realities.
An overarching mega trend that impacts every aspect of Asian life is Globalization. This is an ongoing, inexorable, complex and ambivalent process which impacts every sphere of life and activity. Begun as an economic process which led to free competition sometimes to the detriment of the poorer countries, this has now become a phenomenon of culture. It impacts cherished Asian cultural values bringing in its wake materialism, individualism, consumerism and relativism. The youth in particular are very vulnerable to its effects.
The effects of globalization are seen overall affecting our value systems. Traditional Asian values, much cherished traditions and cultures are being impacted and eroded. As we embark on the great project of New Evangelization may I identify some:
1. As mentioned a spirit of secularism and materialism is getting more prevalent. The Asian people are religious by nature with hundreds of thousands queuing to visit temples and places of worship to receive divine blessings on the occasion of special festivals. Now some are finding that God is being forced away from the center of people's lives to the periphery. From our Christian perspective our Churches are still getting large congregations. But will this continue? The Year of Faith will present us with a challenge to convey the message of Faith in a way that is attractive, relevant and an answer to the questions of our times.
2. Family ties once considered so important for all Asian homes and deep rooted are slowly being eroded. Also connected with this are the attacks on the sanctity of married life. Divorce once considered taboo is now not so uncommon. Some feeble voices have been raised for same-sex marriages. It is not yet a big movement, but slowly gaining ground in the name of freedom.
Many family movements have sprung up in the Church of Asia. This apostolate has borne much fruit because the family is accepted as the basic cell of society, the ambience where once happiness, success and life mission is worked out. It is a challenge to us to find new ways to preserve the sacredness of the family and the home.
3. Anti-life movements - while the Asian soul treats all aspects of life as important, there are rising threats to life that are disturbing in different ways. Ethnic conflicts, violent suppression of different religious persuasions; the tragic threat to life against the helpless; the unborn; female feticide is commonly practiced in some areas because the girl-child is considered a divine curse or a financial burden.The Asian soul by itself has great respect for life. In some religious traditions animals and plants are considered holy and to be treated with utmost respect. In this environment the Gospel pro life message will find easy acceptance.
4. The Asian soul seeks community. Now this too is being impacted upon by individualism creeping in, with a lack of care for the other and indifference to his/her needs, a lack of hospitality which was traditionally important in all societies. The Asian Church has chosen the basic Christian Community method as the new way of being Church for us. This has found great success in some places and has led to lay participation in the Church. lay formation and outreach to the other. It has given a sense of belonging to many who were otherwise neglected.
5. Unfortunately, we are also witnessing a rising number of attacks on religion. In some countries the persecution of Christians is on the rise. The opposition comes from a dominant religion or sometimes from an ideological thrust which wants to impose political authority on religious groups. The Christian communities feel weak and defenseless in some places but we have seen cases of heroic witnessing in the midst of suffering.
The great insights of Vatican II in Nostra Aetate are relevant even today. For us in Asia. dialogue is a necessity not a luxury. A dialogue of life is something all of us are involved in everyday. In Asia we are just 3% of the total population with a Christian majority only in two countries, the Philippines and East Timor. Religious fundamentalism is making itself felt in our continent. These incidents though sporadic are sufficient to cause alarm.
We look forward to the Year of Faith so that we can understand our faith more deeply, live it more authentically and proclaim it more confidently.
May I conclude with two further elements from our Asian context: For us religion is more a discipleship of a person than an adherence to a doctrine or obedience to a set of rules. The person of Jesus is deeply attractive: His message and His life, His passion, death and resurrection. Adherence to doctrine comes as a fruit of discipleship of a master. This is how the first Christians proclaimed the Good News.
Further the Asian mentality finds more meaning in contemplative prayer than in discursive meditation. These are riches we can build upon and share with the world. Our liturgies are central to our Christian faith, but if a focus on contemplation can be made at least in a para-liturgical service it can bring deep satisfaction to our people feeling the presence of God and strengthened by Him.
The challenges before us are immense. But the possibilities are great. Young Asia is blessed with an unprecedented communications boom. This is not to be viewed as a threat but a great gift from God to be used to spread the Good News. Our call is to train our youth particularly to use the new media and benefit from the new media.

[00012-02.10] [RC003] [Original text: English]

- For Oceania: H. Exc. Rev. Mons. John Atcherley DEW, Archbishop of Wellington, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of {
softlineOceania (FCBCO) (NEW ZELAND)

1. Here in this Aula, at the Synod for Oceania 1998, Father Timothy Radcliffe, then Prior General of the Dominicans coined the beautiful phrase "Islands of humanity" when speaking of Oceania. These "islands of humanity" are reflected in the post-Synodal Exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania" which Pope John Paul II was to have proclaimed during a pastoral visit to New Caledonia. However his declining health meant that this was not possible, so "Ecclesia in Oceania" was the first major Vatican document launched electronically. Oceania, far from the technological hub of the universe, covering one-third of the earth's surface, was a beneficiary of electronic communications! The exhortation was a call to the peoples of Oceania to focus anew their lives on Jesus Christ: to walk his way, to tell his truth and to live his life.
The exhortation was also for many, an introduction to the term, a "New Evangelization." "Evangelization is the mission of the Church to tell the world the truth of God revealed in Jesus Christ ..... A new evangelization is needed today so that everyone may hear, understand and believe in God’s mercy destined for all people in Jesus Christ. JJ (EO 18).
That today is the biblical today:"if today you hear his voice ..." Today the Church in Oceania is invited to hear anew the invitation of Jesus Christ to walk his way, to tell his truth and to live his life under the constellation of the Southern Cross that lights up the night sky all over Oceania.
What are the islands of humanity that we recognize in the dioceses and countries of the four Episcopal conferences that make up the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania?
Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC) More than 30% of the population of this vast area was born since the Synod for Oceania. We see everywhere the vibrancy of youth, e.g. large numbers who attended World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008; annual Téné celebrations in New Caledonia, the youth festival in Samoa earlier this year; vocations to priesthood and religious life with a missionary outreach beyond the CEPAC area. In these young people we see a sincere and sometimes painful search for meaning and spirituality as they bridge traditional cultural values and the excitement of the technological age with the swipe of an I-pad or smart-phone. It is sometimes difficult for them to resist the false attractions of an aggressive media and entertainment industry. The CEPAC publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and YouCat in both French and English is a valuable tool in the formation of youth.
In NEW ZEALAND we have witnessed a new vitality of Catholic life through growing ethnic diversity, as a result of the migration of peoples. The largest populations are from the Pacific Islands and the Philippines, with smaller, yet very significant numbers of Catholics and catechumens - from the Middle East, India, Korea, China and the Sudan. People who bring their Catholic faith and their spirituality ... as well as their experiences of war, poverty and displacement that have forged their faith. New Zealand has a strong bicultural partnership founded in the Treaty of Waitangi signed by the British Crown and the Maori people in 1840. This Treaty provides "the moral basis for the presence of all other peoples in Aotearoa-New Zealand".(NZCBC Statement, Advent, 1989)
In AUSTRALIA there is a strong engagement with society through adult education and new forms of lay leadership in the church. Australia is the most advanced of all the countries of the Federation with regard to media and technology. They have shared this generously, e.g. in their support of the Catholic Radio network in the Solomon Islands; and their ready sharing of electronic resources for evangelization, educational and pastoral formation. Over the past two years, the diocese of Broken Bay has offered e-conferences that are streamed live throughout the world. At the first of these e-conferences, which I attended in Wellington, New Zealand, I was fascinated to see the Australian hosts, via satellite link, welcoming and speaking with participants from many Pacific countries, the Solomon Islands, Philippines, India, and even as far away as Canada and the United Kingdom. This new technology is a vital agent of the New Evangelization.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA and the SOLOMON ISLANDS are the leaders in research and practical inculturation of the Gospel, as encouraged in the post-synodal exhortation, Ecclesia in Oceania (#16-17). Their cultures mirror Gospel values of the sacredness of human life and hospitality. Several international religious congregations - both clerical and lay - have set up their formation programmes in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands because of the strength of tertiary studies and inculturated formation available. There are also significant populations in these countries, who are hearing the Gospel message for the first time, e.g., over 60 people baptised in one part of the Solomon Islands last Easter.
In each of the four Conferences our Catholic Schools perform well and are integral to parish life. Our schools are fertile ground for the "new evangelization" offering the opportunity to re-engage families in the life of the Church.
St Peter Chanel is recognized as the Proto martyr of Oceania and his intercession was sought for many years. Two years ago the canonization of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop gained enormous interest in Australia and throughout the Pacific. The media interest was intense and the canonization did wonders for the Church. Such models of holiness continue to inspire, Blessed Peter To Rot of Papua New Guinea, the soon to be canonized (during this Synod) Blessed Pedro Calungsod of Guam - the "teen saint". In New Zealand we await word of the cause of Suzanne Aubert. These examples will do more for the New Evangelization than we can imagine as the media is interested and captures peoples' imagination.
2. These "islands of humanity", however, are built on a volcanic chain of unstable tectonic plates that occasionally burst to the surface as "islands of inhumanity."
CEPAC: All of the countries in the CEPAC region have been independent of colonial rule for up to 50 years, or have achieved some form of internal self-government. However, some are still struggling to choose a form of government that reflects both their cultural uniqueness, and the demands of a modern democracy, e.g. Fiji and Tonga. This continuing political instability occasionally erupts into violence, sometimes even with loss of life.
Several of these countries/dioceses are the most seriously affected by climate change, e.g. the low-lying islands of Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Rotuma, Northern Cook Islands, and Eastern Polynesia. The "great splendor and beauty ... of sea and land, water and earth" (EO 6) is under serious threat, and even more so those who live dependent on the gifts of this land and sea. The concern of the church for the poor and most vulnerable will need to include the particular needs of potential environmental refugees."
In NEW ZEALAND we recognise that the saeculum is where "believers and non-believers interact and share in a common humanity" (IL54). The "Courtyard of the gentiles" is a privileged place of evangelisation. This is the positive side of secularisation. However, an aggressive secularism, and the failure to acknowledge the transcendent dignity of the human person, often blocks the dialogue with society on key bioethical and social issues, e.g. euthanasia, abortion, and the definition of marriage. This secularism also presents a challenge for the growing numbers of believers of other faiths who have made New Zealand their home, e.g. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. They have often come from a much more positive encounter with Christians in their country of origin, and are scandalized by what they experience in what they thought was "a Christian country".
PAPUA NEW GUINEA and the SOLOMON ISLANDS: In a region of such vast ethnic and social diversity, there are serious social justice questions: the breakdown of traditional cultural values and social fragmentation, a high incidence of HIV-AIDS, oppressive poverty and corruption, tension regarding access to natural resources, rapid urbanization, a ready resort to violence, border disputes with Indonesia over West Papua. The strength of the inculturation mentioned earlier will be tested in the response to these areas of social justice.
AUSTRALIA: The vast "southern land of the Holy Spirit" also has major challenges in the task of the new evangelization, in the dialogue with a growing secularized society, in narrowing the gap between rich and poor, in the promotion of the dignity of indigenous people and asylum seekers, and in the same bioethical and social issues which New Zealand faces. Australia often suffers from the devastation of bush fires with great loss of life and property; these fires are one of the effects of climate change. While natural disasters in Oceania are often small on the global scale, they have an enormous impact on smaller nations and fragile economies.
The Instrumentum Laboris (78) reminds us of the three basic requirements for the New Evangelization:
- The ability to discern ... within the present circumstances, unwavering in the conviction that the Gospel can still be proclaimed ...
- The ability to live the Christian faith;
- A clear and visible bond with the Church ....
These requirements are a call to conversion in the context of The New Evangelization in Oceania. "... A new evangelization is needed today so that everyone may hear, understand and believe in God's mercy destined for all people in Jesus Christ." (EO 18)
a. "Evangelization means that we must talk about Evangelizers". The formation and ongoing formation of all involved in the evangelizing mission of the church must be our first priority. This means a rediscovery of the gift and vocation of Baptism, meeting the Risen Jesus in the scriptures and church community gathered around the Eucharist, a renewed commitment to prayer and contemplation, biblical study and lectio divina, a generous and courageous service of the community of church and society, upholding and promoting family life and values;
b. We need to reclaim the Catholic Kerygmatic tradition, " to speak the word of God boldly - in season and out of season", to reclaim the prophetic voice of the Church, to discern the signs of the times that call for the new evangelization, and to engage in proclaiming and living a Christian response to these signs of the times;
We pray in the words of Ecclesia in Oceania that the Church in Oceania "may have the strength to follow faithfully the way of Jesus Christ, to tell courageously the truth of Jesus Christ, to live joyfully the life of Jesus Christ".

[00014-02.06] [RC005] [Original text: English]


Then the following Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Salvador PIÑEIRO GARCÍA-CALDERÓN, Archbishop of Ayacucho, President of the Episcopal Conference, Military Ordinary for Peru (PERU)
- H. Em. Rev. Card. Stanisław RYŁKO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)

This Assembly has been called by the Pope to study a theme that touches the heart of our pastoral mission, now at the start of the third Christian millennium. For his part, the Successor of Peter has already launched a profound study with regard to this, as can be seen in his numerous interventions. A summary of these has already been published in the last part of the recent volume of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, under the title: “Enchiridion of the new evangelization” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012).
In a recent speech to a group of French bishops who had come to Rome for an “ad limina” visit, the Pope said expressly: “Today the challenges of a broadly secularized society serve as an invitation to seek a response with courage and optimism by proposing the incorruptible newness of the Gospel with boldness and creativity” (L’Osservatore Romano, 22 September 2012).
“With courage and optimism”: this is also the hope I express on my own behalf and of all those present, while recognizing the great difficulties that exist in the present situation. Sometimes we too are tempted like the Apostles, who said to Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, through Simon: “Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets” (Lk 5:5). And this was followed by the miraculous catch.
Of course the new evangelization to which we are now called has no wish to be merely a slogan or a new technique, as happens today with the so-called new literacy, which seeks to teach the use of new “on-line” methods of communication. Instead it is a new evangelization in the sense indicated to us by the last Roman Pontiffs, to face the challenges the Church finds itself facing today, winning out over every form of scepticism and trusting in the help of the Lord. This is an ever-recurring theme in the history of the Church, called on to extract from its treasure “nova et vetera” (Mt 13:52), new things as well as old.
Certainly we find ourselves facing a great task that sees the involvement of heaven and earth, a mysterious work for the preceding and concurrent work of the grace of God. The same formulation of the second part of the theme of this Synod, that is, the phrase “for the transmission of the faith” does not seem entirely adequate, because as we well know, faith is not transmitted on our part, since it comes from the grace of God, as well as from the decision of man who welcomes such a gift. And it is precisely to invoke such grace that the Church constantly proposes to us the apostolate of prayer alongside the apostolate of action.
On my part, I have tried to prepare for this Assembly of ours, carefully rereading over the last few months the “Acts of the Apostles”. Already here we can see how the evangelizing work of the Church was the fruit of a number of factors, of the words and initiatives of the Apostles as well as of the continuous intervention of the grace of God, who opened hearts to the acceptance of the Good News. What we see there clearly is that Peter, after Pentecost, takes the initiative and introduces, with holy ardor, Jesus of Nazareth as the one Savior (Acts 2:14 ff).
But I have to confess that after the comforting reading of the Acts of the Apostles, I then came to the Book of Revelation and thus was able to reflect on the reality of evil in the world, as on the mystery of man’s freedom, who although he sees the light, sometimes prefers to remain in darkness. Similarly I wished to meditate on the pages of the Apocalypse that describe to us the devastating presence of Satan in human history. But it is always comforting to read in the same Book of Revelation how in the end it is the victorious power of Christ which shines over all human misery.
I would like to end now with an appeal that I feel I ought to make, not so much as Deacon of the College of Cardinals, but as the oldest Deacon of the Bishops here present. It is an appeal that we should all carry out our work of evangelization in great humility, knowing that we are not the first to work in the vineyard of the Lord nor will we be the last. We are not the first because others, for 2,000 years, preceded us in this pastoral undertaking. We are not even the last because others will come after us to continue this work, until the end of human history, when we will have a new heaven and new earth (Rv 21:1)

[00024-02.12] [IN001] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Salvador PIÑEIRO GARCÍA-CALDERÓN, Archbishop of Ayacucho, President of the Episcopal Conference, Military Ordinary for Peru (PERU)

During my service as a priest, I was always a pastor and I discovered that the favored place for teaching the faith is the Sunday celebration because we believers listen to Jesus and celebrate the triumph of his cross, to live the mandate of his Love. Every week we learn the words and gestures of the Master to live in our family, our neighborhood, our places of work and study.
Sunday, the day of the Lord and of the Church, we must, during the Eucharistic encounter, thank the good and merciful Father who gives us life but most of all faith in Christ, in communion with our brothers, especially with the most needy who wait for us as they are immersed in pain, poverty and marginalization.
This weekly journey is embedded into the pedagogical system of the Liturgical Year which, inspired by the Gospel of John (16, 28) calls us to turn towards Christmas and Easter, events which we prepare for and celebrate in the joy of salvation.
Careful preparation of the liturgy and the symbols of the celebration is the best catechesis for the faithful; for this reason, Biblical proclamation and songs must motivate us to a conscious, active and fruitful participation (SC 11) which fills us with spirit for mission. The altar is the apex and the fount of ecclesial work (SC 10).
It is necessary to intensify, in the pastoral action of our dioceses and parishes, the liturgical groups which reflect upon, prepare and animate this favored place of evangelization.
If theology becomes the pastoral of the liturgy, we must attend to the formation of priests and catechists so that they may deepen the content and promote new methods for children and youth.
During official celebrations, it is the popular religiosity, much emphasized in our Latin American peoples, in which many faithful show their own beliefs and want to pay homage to Jesus Christ, to the Virgin Mary and the saints.
Thanks to the New Evangelization, the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI reveals to us the value of popular piety; for this reason, we must accompany the search for God, insisting upon catechesis and planning, so that these appointments may represent for the community a commitment to social transformation which contributes to the well-being of the most needy.
We cannot forget the simple prayer of the masses who, at shrines and in folk festivals, express their own devotion and unfortunately feel unwelcomed and unaccompanied.

[00025-02.06] [IN002] [Original text: Spanish]

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Stanis
ław RYŁKO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)

In no.115 of the Instrumentum Laboris we read that “another gift of Divine Providence to the Church is the flowering of groups and movements, oftentimes in a spontaneous, spirit-filled manner, dedicated primarily to the proclaiming of the Gospel.”
The Magisterium of the last Pontiffs affirmed in many circumstances this providential nature of the “new season of lay association”, emphasizing the close relationship with the “renewed Pentecost” of the II Vatican Council. Specifically, Blessed John Paul II did not miss pointing out the missionary dynamism of movements and new communities that represent a true gift of God both for new evangelization and for missionary activity properly so-called. I therefore recommend that they be spread, and that they be used to give fresh energy, especially among young people, to the Christian life and to evangelization, within a pluralistic view of the ways in which Christians can associate and express themselves.” Pope Benedict XVI also restated that “The Ecclesial Movements and new Communities are a providential instrument for a renewed missionary outreach; welcome and promote them in your Dioceses”. And on another occasion he encouraged the bishops to welcome them “with great love”.Unfortunately, movements and new communities remain a resource that is not fully appreciated in the Church, a gift of the Spirit and a treasure of grace still hidden from the eyes of many Pastors, perhaps fearful of the innovation that they bring to the life of the dioceses and parishes. The Holy Father is well aware of this difficulty, and thus exhorts the Pastors to “not extinguish charisms. If the Lord gives us new gifts we must be grateful, even if at times they may be inconvenient”. It demands, therefore, a true “pastoral conversion” of bishops and priests, called to recognize that these movements are above all a precious gift rather than a problem.
The missionary impulse of these new realities, indeed, does not arise from an emotional and superficial enthusiasm, but springs forth from very serious experiences which call for the formation of lay faithful in an adult faith, able to respond appropriately to the challenges of secularization. The novelty of their actions, therefore, is not to be found in their methods but in their ability to reaffirm the centrality of God in the life of Christians, a fundamental question in the teachings of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. For the task of new evangelization as well, the old scholastic saying is valid: operari sequitur esse, because our doing always expresses what we are. Evangelization is not only and not so much a question of “knowing how to”, but above all a question of “being”, that is, being true and authentic Christians.
Nevertheless, the methods of evangelization adopted by movements and new communities are seemingly quite different, truly multiform, but all ascribable to the “three laws of the New Evangelization” which the then Cardinal Ratzinger formulated for catechists and teachers of religion on the occasion of the Holy Year of 2000: first of all the “law of expropriation”, or rather not speaking in one’s own name but in the name of the Church, maintaining that “evangelization is not simply a way of speaking, but a way of living”, that is to say the clear knowledge of belonging to Christ and his body (Church!) which transcends the ego. The second is the “law of the mustard seed”, that is, the courage to evangelize with patience and perseverance, without aiming to obtain immediate results, always remembering that the law of great numbers is not the law of the Gospel. It is an ability that we can recognize, for example, in the work of evangelization undertaken by movements and new communities in the most secularized areas of the world. The third “law” is that of the grain of wheat, which must die in order to give life, must accept the logic of the cross. In these laws is hidden the deepest secret of the effectiveness of the evangelical commitment of the Church in all times.

[00026-02.07] [IN003] [Original text: Italian]


The corrections published in the Errata Corrige in Bulletin No.04 can be found in the specific Bulletins published in these Internet pages.


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