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


19 - 16.10.2012





Today, Tuesday, October 16 2012, at 4:30 p.m, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Pro felici Synodi exitu, the Fourteenth General Congregation began for the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme: «The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith».

President delegate on duty H. Em. Card. Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA, Archbishop of Guadalajara (MEXICO).

Opening the General Congregation H. Em. R. Card. Tarcisio BERTONE, Secretary of State (VATICAN CITY) took the floor to express to the Syrian population the closeness of the Holy Father, the Synodal Fathers and other Participants in the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. In the Cardinal Secretary of State’s words was the announcement of a Delegation in Syria and a prayer that in the Country a political solution to the appalling tragedy might be found, that the suffering, weak and displaced might be protected, that reason and compassion might prevail. The complete text of the intervention is published in this Bulletin.

During the General Congregation, several Fraternal Delegates intervened.

Following these interventions, the President Delegate gave the floor to the Special Guest, Bro. ALOIS, Prior of the Ecumenical Community of Taizé (FRANCE).

A period for free discussion followed.

At this General Congregation, which ended at 7:00 pm with the prayer of Angelus Domini 246 Fathers were present.


Most Holy Father,
Most Eminent and Most Excellent Synodal Fathers,
Dear brothers and sisters,
We cannot be mere spectators of a tragedy like the one that is unfolding in Syria: some of the interventions we have heard in the hall bear witness to this.
Certain that the solution to the crisis cannot be but political and thinking of the immense suffering of the population, the fate of the evacuees as well as the future of that nation, some of us suggested that our synodal assembly might express its solidarity.
The Holy Father has thus arranged for a delegation to make its way in the next few days to Damascus with the aim of expressing, in his name and in all our names:
our fraternal solidarity to the whole population, with a personal offering from the Synodal Fathers as well as from the Holy See;
our spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters;
our encouragement to all those who are involved in the search for an agreement that respects the rights and duties of all with particular attention to what is demanded by humanitarian law.

The delegation will be made up of:

Synodal Fathers:
- His Em. Card. Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa;
- His Em. Card. Jean-Louis Tauran, President of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue;
- His Em. Card. Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York;
- His Exc. Mons. Fabio Suescun Mutis, Military Ordinary of Colombia;
- His Exc. Mons. Joseph Nguyen Nang, Bishop of Phat Diem;

In addition to the Synodal Fathers quoted above, the following persons are part of the delegation:
- His Exc. Mons. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State;
- Mons. Alberto Ortega, Official of the Secretariat of State.

It is expected that once the necessary formalities have been carried out with the Apostolic Nuncio and the local authorities, the Delegation will make its way to Damascus next week.
In the meantime time we pray that reason and compassion might prevail.

[00321-02.04] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]


The following Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Angelo BAGNASCO, Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Episcopal Conference (ITALY)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Stanislav LIPOVŠEK, Bishop of Celje (SLOVENIA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Kieran O'REILLY, S.M.A., Bishop of Killaloe (IRELAND)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Everardus Johannes de JONG, Titular Bishop of Cariana, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of Roermond (NETHERLANDS)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Vincent RI PYUNG-HO, Bishop of Jeonju (KOREA)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Diarmuid MARTIN, Archbishop of Dublin (IRELAND)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Yves Marie MONOT, C.S.S.p., Bishop of Ouesso (REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Der Raphaël DABIRÉ KUSIÉLÉ, Bishop of Diébougou (BURKINA FASO)
H. Em. Rev. Card. Péter ERDŐ, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (C.C.E.E.) (HUNGARY)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Rev. Card. Angelo BAGNASCO, Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Episcopal Conference (ITALY)

Christ’s invitation - “do not be afraid” - has resounded strongly in the Synod hall, agora of the people. Peter’s evangelical episode of walking on the waters expresses well the first message for us, as pastors, and also for our Priests and Christian communities: we must hold firm our gaze upon the face of the Lord, as otherwise we sink in fears. Here is the primacy of grace and the need for the sacrament of reconciliation in spiritual life. Light is kindled by light, wrote Romano Guardini - and joy by a joyful faith! It is therefore necessary to be men of faith in order to be masters of faith. The gaze with which we must look upon the world must reflect the sympathy of God that in Christ is revealed as salvation, and this gaze leads us to recognize first and foremost the signs of His work. There exists, indeed, within the Christian population a widespread wealth of humble and daily heroism, that does not make the news but which builds history. In this sense, in Italy, the presence of 25,000 parishes constitutes a network of closeness and a patrimony not to be wasted.
Another task is that of doing that which has always been done with a new spirit, that is, an awareness that the people we encounter in our communities often have to rediscover or discover the faith. This consciousness requires ardor, generosity and trust, without forgetting that the presence of many Christian emigrants is a grace that often edifies the believers in our country. The new zeal of the territorial pastoral must then be linked with the pastoral of those environments that constitute a vast reality in human life that perhaps we should look to with greater attention (school, university, hospitals, sports, media, the world of the factory...). Finally, the territorial and environmental ordinary and occasional pastoral must with patience become a pastoral integrated with the multiple lay gatherings, associations, movements, and ecclesial groups, as we are reminded by the Instrumentum laboris.
Evangelization has a prophetic character: it is effected, like all the “economy of revelation”, with intimately connected events and words (cf. DV 2). The prophet is he who reads circumstances and events with the gaze of God: he grasps the truth in relation to Him and therefore sees in it its internal orientation, or we might say, its outcome. But the prophet is also he who anticipates in a symbolic way the path of history. From this perspective, the life of the Christian community, the capillary service and the witness of charity, the divine liturgy, the proclamation of the Gospel... have a prophetic character, either because they enable a real encounter with that new humanity initiated by Jesus through his sacrifice, or because they explicitly proclaim the words of the Revelation that saves, or because they unmask the spirit of dishonesty that inspires ideas and words that lead not to happiness, but to sad and inhuman deserts. For this reason, the judgement that at times one reads, according to which prophecy is missing in the Church, is unjustified. Christ must be proclaimed in His entirety, in His person and in His anthropological, ethical and social implications. Without this, faith would remain emotive and irrelevant to real life.
If it is evident that some cultural tendencies are contrary to the Gospel, it is also true that man is to be found on the side of the Gospel. Contemporary culture, for example, demonizes the category of the “limit” as it is understood as a negation of individual freedom and vital impulses. This prejudice distorts ethics, relationships, the family, the experience of illness. But the experience of the limit - ontological, moral, affective, psychic - is a great ally of the Gospel, as it says that man needs others and, above all, the Other that is God. This need is not a weakness but rather a value, as it presses us to open ourselves up to the reciprocity of Love that not only corresponds, but also saves.

[00255-02.04] [IN190] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Stanislav LIPOVŠEK, Bishop of Celje (SLOVENIA)

I speak with reference to '"Instrumentum laboris" No. 138, where it is written that we must help local Christian communities starting from parishes that should adopt a more missionary presence in the local structure.
In the Church in Slovenia this parishes and missionary style was favored in the whole post-Council period, when we tried to bring to life different indications and pastoral guidelines of the pastoral council and post-Council documents. At the level of dioceses and also nationally, several "pastoral forums" have been prepared to promote Christian life inside parishes, always in the main dimensions of the salvific mission of the Church, which takes place in the evangelization, in liturgy and diaconate. On the eve of the “Year of Faith” 2012/2013, we have prepared a national pastoral document “Venite et vedete” which is a comparison with the present pastoral and in the second part, a national program to promote the New Evangelization in our parish communities, in the different groups and parish collaborators.
Under the guidance of the Bishops and the coordination of the national pastoral Council, the parish pastoral councils start to study, transmit and implement the pastoral program, so that all members and groups of the parish and all men of good will are introduced into the national pastoral program and Christian life, for a living faith, working, joyful and salvific.

[00256-02.03] [IN191] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Kieran O'REILLY, S.M.A., Bishop of Killaloe (IRELAND)

The momentum created by the recently held International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland has been further enhanced by the publication of a New National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland titled: Share the Good News. This document from the Bishops Conference is a blueprint for the Church throughout Ireland.
Share the Good News points to the complete statement of faith, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, searching out sure ways of making the treasures to be found in the Catechism more readily available to people in Ireland today. It is also a call to action with the aim of seeking to help members of the Church speak confidently of the Gospel message which each generation of believers must assimilate anew. It is a programme with a ten-year horizon: the first two years are given over to a period of implementation and making the Directory known, followed by full implementation throughout the dioceses of Ireland.
Hand in hand with Share the Good News must go a more profound knowledge and understanding of the Good News as preached and lived in the New Testament. Quoting Verbum Domini #: 51 ... “the church is a community that hears and proclaims the word of God. The Church draws life not from herself but from the Gospel, and from the Gospel she discovers ever anew the direction for her journey” This calls for a fuller and significant biblical apostolate
The Irish Church has lived, and continues to live, the recent crises in a dramatic way. At the same time, we are faced with the same effects of secularisation as many other countries, particularly in Europe. As a result, the church must now speak with a voice which is hopeful yet humble, confident yet compassionate, with a claim to authority that must be more evidently rooted in the Gospel and the love of Christ. This is the context in which the new evangelization will take place.
I hope this Synod will send words of encouragement to all the agents of the New Evangelization, in particular, to the many women who play a significant role in the life of our Church, expressing our gratitude to them for their generous activity in spreading the Gospel in the various settings of daily life where they are centrally present - at work, in schools, in the family and in healthcare. These, and other committed members of our faith communities, expect and await a message of hope and encouragement from this Synod, as we invite them to engage with evangelical courage the new evangelization in the different Aeropagii of our time.

[00259-02.03] [IN193] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Everardus Johannes de JONG, Titular Bishop of Cariana, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of Roermond (NETHERLANDS)

Our problem is not so much a visible adversary, but the invisible evil powers (Er. 6, 12).
It was Pentecost that started the first evangelization, and we need a new Pentecost. We should, therefore, pray first of all fervently and constantly to the H. Spirit, as Evangelii nuntiandi nr. 75 suggests. This should be the first element of a worldwide strategy of the new evangelization. This prayer to the H. Spirit was promoted by great missionaries like St. Arnold Janssen (1837-1909) and formed the basis of the Catholic Charismatic Movement in 1967. Jesus Himself promised the H. Spirit to everyone who asks for Him (Lk. 11:13)! Maybe the H. Father will introduce Benedictine prayers at the end of Mass (cfr. the Leonine prayers of Leo XIII), or a constant novena, to ask Him to come.
We should promote the art of discernment of spirits. In this time of relativism, in which objective truth is not easily accepted, we may help people to compare their own subjective experiences to lead them to the objective truth. We do not only have to present the gospel and the catechism, but have to promote the spiritual exercises, in which we confront people with the Jesus of the gospels and the Church, and help them to compare the influence of His Spirit in their lives with the outcomes of a more hedonistic way of life (cfr. Ga. 5:29-23). Thus they will be led to the knowledge and recognition of the objective truth of their human nature, its deepest desires, and God in their conscience. In this way they will discover St. Peter and his successors, and the church (Cf. Bl. John Henry Card. Newman (1801-1890). This means we should give priests and religious a better spiritual formation, in order to be spiritual directors, to be real spiritual fathers and mothers.
We should promote the prayer to the angels and archangels in the new evangelization. Many Popes and saints have practiced this devotion, and promoted it.
Families are essential in the transmission of the gospel. In this context our society does not know sin anymore. Still, sin has its influence on the openness to the gospel-message. Pornography, sexuality outside marriage of man and woman, contraception, abortion, will close the heart. Who, indeed, can say yes to God, the giver of life in abundance, if he or she, consciously or unconsciously, says no to human life? This means that the Church should courageously promote the gospel of life, including the theology of the body, natural family planning, and at the same time announce the very merciful God.

[00261-02.03] [IN195] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Vincent RI PYUNG-HO, Bishop of Jeonju (KOREA)

Since the beginning of my episcopacy in 1990, I have been trying to memorize the biblical passages of daily mass, investing two and half hours every morning and sharing in one way or other with especially lay people. When we do this, we realize how much is true the word of St. Ambrose who said: “When we take up the sacred Scriptures in faith and read them with the Church, we walk once more with God in the Garden” (Verbum Domini, n. 87). One bishop from France said in the last synod: “I have a degree in Holy Scripture, but it was the laity, the poor who really opened me up to the force of the Word. They evangelized me. The poor are profoundly receptive to the Word of God (Mt. 11:25-26), and the Church should always read it with them close at hand.” Faith, defined as a personal encounter with the Lord, is the foundation on which everything we do and even the Church herself is built. If it is solid like a rock, even if flood and strong wind come, it does not fall. But if the foundation is not solid like sand, it cannot resist the least obstacle. Concerning the encounter and relationship with Christ, the Lord declares: “Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person's side” (Rev.3:20). Therefore, it is not we who have the initiative in meeting the Lord; on the contrary, it is the Lord who is already at the door and knocking. For us the most simple, efficacious, concrete way to meet the Lord is through the Sacred Books. It is enough for us to let him enter into our being through the door of the Bible with receptive heart. Then the letter becomes in us “spirit and life”(Jn 6:63).
With regard to the “receptive heart”, we can have another problem: the prayer. We the Catholics are so accustomed to ready-made formulas that we have the danger of losing the spontaneity, joy, ardor-enthusiasm and of falling into a mere routine. When we make a comparison with the Protestants, the difference becomes crying especially in preaching and in praying. I think that all the questions and challenges with regard to the New Evangelization can be reduced to one: the Word of the Lord. Jesus himself says: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.”(Jn 15:7). To make the words of the Lord abide in us, we must begin by memorizing them. In this line, our patron is Sainte Theresa of Lisieux, declared Doctor Ecclesiae. She memorized every biblical passage she happened to encounter, be it in the cards, or in other pious books. Mons. Guy Gaucher said: “She made of every branches the arrows and of every flowers the honey”.
As the Apostle Peter says, we are the people “born again, not from corruptible seed, but from what is incorruptible, from the Word of God, living and remaining for all eternity”(l P. 1:23). The Word of God is the Womb of our being, and to find the “newness” so longed for, for the Evangelization of today, we must come back to this original place of our being. The Word become “spirit and life” is just the place.

[00262-02.03] [IN196] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Diarmuid MARTIN, Archbishop of Dublin (IRELAND)

The challenge of language is especially felt in those countries where English dominates, characterized by linguistic philosophies with known epistemological challenges. There is however a further challenge of the day-to-day language, not just of the media, but of a culture of the manipulation of language and the management of information where the meaning of words is changed and manipulated for commercial, ideological or political motives.
The concern I wish to particularly address is the challenge that this manipulation of language represents for young people in their search for the message of Jesus Christ. Young people live in a culture of relativism and indeed banalization of the truth often without even being aware of it. It is a culture which they did not create. They may not know any other culture, yet they must find Christ in the midst of this culture while they have little familiarity with the language of faith.
I am not thinking here of the large groups of young people who have found strength and support in events such as World Youth Day, but of the many young men and women who, at what is a complex and difficult time in their lives, in their search for meaning find themselves very much alone among their classmates and fellow students and indeed may experience hostility and incomprehension as they try to find or maintain their faith in Jesus Christ.
Where are we present among the large student population, especially for those whose basic Christian education may well have been all but superficial in either family or school?
The challenge of the New Evangelization must be marked by a robust confrontation of ideas, not in terms of ideological aggression, but in helping young people in the discernment of ideas.
The culture of individualism can be counteracted by the creation of a variety of new ecclesial communities, not just those of the ecclesial movements, but around our parishes, which will be the building blocks of the Eucharistic communities of the future.

[00263-02.03] [IN197] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Yves Marie MONOT, C.S.S.p., Bishop of Ouesso (REPUBLIC OF CONGO)

The Church, the Family of God in Congo Brazzaville, our mission today, is located clearly between the first evangelization, a parish pastoral of true closeness, and the new evangelization. Since its independence in 1960, our country has lived close to thirty years of Marxist Socialism and about twenty years of apprenticeship to democracy, with painful periods of civil war.
Today our society is bathed more in religiosities than secularization, even if this last is already at work.
The executives and young adults have been touched by Marxist militant atheism. Many of these older “members” turned towards sects: esoteric groups (the executives) or different Assemblies called Churches of reawakening (the younger ones). The first mission of our Church is to work towards a more profound evangelization in our country: a catechesis centered on Christ, the Gospel of God for man, attention on the different phases of our history, opening up many questions coming from modernity (values and anti-values), the formation of the People of God to faith, in freedom of the heart that comes to us from Jesus Christ the Savior and at the service of Reconciliation, of Justice and of Peace as well as the safeguarding of creation (the forest basin in Congo). The presence of the “Autochthonous” (official name of the pygmies) reminds us that many sectors of our country are still terrain for the first evangelization.Yves Marie Monot, Bishop of Ouesso, on behalf of the C.E.C.

[00264-02.02] [IN198] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Der Raphaël DABIRÉ KUSIÉLÉ, Bishop of Diébougou (BURKINA FASO)

The theme of the communication is: Human promotion and inculturation in the new evangelizatio n. In Burkina Faso and in Niger, the context is not one of de-Christianization, but of Christianization arising in the midst of many difficulties - bad beliefs, diminishment of women, illiteracy of the people, poverty, etc. - just like the woman in the Apocalypse of Saint John surrounded by a dragon with seven heads and ten horns. It is in this context that the Church Family of God turns to individuals faced with misery and death.
Man is a multifaceted being. The Good News of salvation must take on all the dimensions of the inehuman being, with a view to making him experience down here wellbeing as a sacrament of happiness to come. The new evangelization must take into consideration human promotion not as a simple contingency tied to times and places, but as a necessity, an integral part of the mission of Christ the Savior.
To remain pertinent however, new evangelization must take charge of culture. Without inculturation, transmitted faith cannot take root in the hearts of the people. The Church, being the subject of the transmission of faith, must inculturate, if she wishes to be credible and authentic.
This is why, while saluting the attempts at inculturation already at work in Africa - such as giving value to the ecclesiological image of the Church Family of God - we must encourage reflection and action in this sense, to open up new paths of inculturation, but above all to promote the life of holiness of new evangelizers.

[00265-02.02] [IN199] [Original text: French]

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

No.54 of the Instrumentum Laboris speaks of the courtyard of the Gentiles. For evangelization it is necessary to begin with the fundamentals of our existence. Indeed our faith refers to reality, to the totality of that which exists. The present-day scientific vision that the world offers us is a broad perspective. If we seek to imagine the Universe, our mind opens up towards God, towards his immense reality. The colossal reality of God, when he meets the world, being so intimately present in it, yet beyond space and time, produces situations that at times seem paradoxical.
The natural sciences, physics and astronomy demonstrate to us the flexibility and richness of fundamental concepts such as matter and energy. They give rise to questions about the beginning and the end of the Universe. They even speak of dark energy and antimatter, ideas which are useful for explaining certain basic phenomena of the Universe. There are indeed researchers who are open to accepting the existence of a transcendent God, one who is not identical to this same Universe.
When we Christians proclaim that this God is personal, loves us, has saved us, has invited us to eternal life and happiness in communion with Him, we are formulating conclusions that lead automatically from our knowledge of nature. We have another source, necessary to our faith: Divine Revelation, brought to its completion in the person of Jesus Christ. This great event can be known through Tradition, transmitted by the Church, attested to by the witness of generations of saints, from the apostles through to our own days.
The tradition of faith resounds as an authentic response to our vast experiences and questions surrounding the Universe. We live, therefore, in an age of great opportunity to announce our faith through dialogue with both the natural and historical sciences.

[00266-02.04] [IN200] [Original text: Italian]


The following Fraternal Delegates intervened:

- H. Em. HILARION [Alfeyev], Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of Public Relations of the Church of Moscovite Patriarchy (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
- Rev. F. Massis ZOBOUIAN, Director of the "Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia" (LEBANON)
- Rev. Dr. Timothy GEORGE, Dean of the "Beeson Divinity School of Samford University" (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
- H. Exc. Sarah F. DAVIS, Vice President of the "World Methodist Council" (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
- H. Exc. Steven CROFT, Bishop of Sheffield (GREAT BRITAIN (ENGLAND AND WALES)
H. Exc. SILUAN [Şpan], Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy (ITALY)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. HILARION [Alfeyev], Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, President of the Department of Public Relations of the Church of Moscovite Patriarchy (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)

The present Synod of Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church is timed to the remarkable date - the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council and is dedicated to a theme of the new evangelization relevant to all Christians - the sermon of Christ in the secular world. Even half a century ago the fathers of the Council were well aware that closer cooperation among Christians of different traditions would mean that witness to Christ and His salutary mission in the modem world would be more convincing. Today we are called to think about solving our common tasks that the present epoch puts forward. The challenges of the last fifty years that have passed since the beginning of Vatican II have not only lost their significance, but have become even more acute and threatening.
Both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church fulfill the mission to which they have been called by Christ and tirelessly bring witness of the truth, while “proving the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). In this ministry our Churches become even more conscious of the necessity of combining our efforts so that the Christian answer to the challenges of the modem society can be heard. In recent years, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have fruitfully cooperated within the Orthodox-Catholic forum, in different international organizations and at other places of dialogue with the secular world.
The Synod of Bishops gathering in Rome will discuss and seek the means of the most effective preaching of the Gospel truth in modem society. I hope that one of the fruits of the Synod's work will be development of the Orthodox-Catholic cooperation in the same way as it was after Vatican II: “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).

[00303-02.03] [DF009] [Original text: English]

- Rev. F. Massis ZOBOUIAN, Director of the "Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia" (LEBANON)

We greet you in the spirit of Christian love and fellowship.
The initiative of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to convoke a General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” has profound ecumenical, ecclesiological and missiological significance and implications.
Evangelism is the raison d'etre of the church. It is both a gift of God in Christ and a call. Christian evangelism must be given a focal attention in today’s world in which spiritual and moral values are in constant decay. Renewing and reinvigorating the evangelistic vocation of the church is not an option but an urgent necessity and a huge challenge.
Therefore, revitalization of the church’s evangelistic outreach is not a matter pertaining only to the Catholic Church alone. It is a pan-Christian priority and an ecumenical imperative. The churches witnessing in different parts of the world, are called to re-emphasize the crucial urgency of evangelism and to inject a new dynamism in their missionary engagement.
We should realize however that taking the Gospel to the world is not an easy task in modern societies which are dominated by the forces of secularization and globalization. The church cannot resign, under any circumstances, from its God-given mission.
We warmly welcome the ecumenical spirit and openness of His Holiness in inviting fraternal delegates to be part of this important spiritual event in the life and Witness of the Catholic Church. We remain assured that the synodical fathers will tackle the complex issue of evangelizes both with a holistic and a contextually relevant approach, thus responding to the current needs of the faithful at the local level in such difficult times.
May God lead you in your reflections and actions for the glory of His heavenly kingdom.

[00194-02.04] [DF004] [Original text: English]

- Rev. Dr. Timothy GEORGE, Dean of the "Beeson Divinity School of Samford University" (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

As the fraternal delegate representing the Baptist World Alliance, a fellowship of some 42 million Christians serving the Lord in 177,000 churches in 120 countries, I would like to emphasize three points with respect to the New Evangelization.
First, Baptists confess with all Christians a robust faith in the triune God, who has made us partakers of his divine life through Jesus Christ, the Great Evangelizer, who saves us by his grace alone. Apart from this fundamental trinitarian reality, all of our programs and plans for evangelization will be fruitless.
Second, there is a biblical imperative for Christian unity. This is because ecumenism is never an end in itself but is always in the service of evangelization. Jesus prayed to the heavenly Father for all believers to be one “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21). An example of Christian unity is the soon-to-be-published Report of the International Baptist-Catholic Conversation, “The Word of God in the Life of the Church”.
Third, throughout our history, Baptists have been ardent champions of religious freedom for all persons. This freedom is not rooted in social or political constructs but derives from the character of God himself and the kind of relationship to which he calls all persons.
Today, religious freedom is under assault in so many ways, some blatant and others more subtle. All Christians who take seriously the call to evangelization must stand and work together for its protection and flourishing.

[00195-02.03] [DF007] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Sarah F. DAVIS, Vice President of the "World Methodist Council" (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

Your Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, My Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus:
How very thankful I am to God for this premier opportunity to be a part of this august body during the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to represent the World Methodist Council, a body of over 80 million members belonging to Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches in 90 countries. The World Methodist Council is extremely grateful to the Holy Father for extending the invitation for us to participate in this most timely and critical Synod in the life of Christendom.
In 1971 when the World Methodist Conference declared: “It is time for all the people called Methodists to be about both World Mission and Evangelism”, World Evangelism was launched with much fervor and intentionality. The World Methodist Council believed then as it does now that the Great Commission of Christ to His church to teach and preach the Gospel and to make Disciples is the supreme business of the Church.
The World Methodist Council agrees with the Holy Father and the findings outlined in the Instrumentum Laboris that it does matter that people know Jesus Christ in the twenty-first century. The world is hurting, lost, confused, distracted, distraught, diseased and disgraced and desperately needs healing, hope, and salvation. There is no other name to call on at a time such as this but Jesus Christ.
In meeting the challenges of the New Evangelization the following considerations are needful:
Evangelistic outreach must be informed and shaped by the specific needs and cultural environment of those to whom the Gospel is being shared. Creativity is needed so that in meeting the needs of persons, the Gospel is not compromised.
Evangelistic outreach must be "wholistic". It must meet the total needs of persons physical, emotional, economic, social, political and spiritual - with the offering of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Evangelistic outreach must be based on the awareness of the power of God's grace. At all times in all places, God is already at work in the lives of every person encountered.
Evangelistic outreach must always be infused by the Holy Spirit. Alone Evangelizers are epowerless but, empowered by the Holy Spirit, outreach becomes a dynamic and authentic expression of the saving grace of God expressed in Jesus Christ.
The success of the New Evangelization is closely related to the believability of the Evangelizer. It will be the Evangelizers who are placed under the microscope; not the processes, not the programs, nor the plans developed out of this Synod. People want to know that what the Evangelizers are advertising has already worked in their lives.
We thank God for His Holiness' clarion call for the New Evangelization and pray God's continued favor on the yet to come outputs of this Synod. To God be the Glory. Thank you.
[00318-02.03] [DF011] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Steven CROFT, Bishop of Sheffield (GREAT BRITAIN (ENGLAND AND WALES)

Archbishop Rowan Williams spoke last week on contemplation as the root of evangelization. I address the fruits of evangelization in the life of the Church as the Church reflects the character of Christ, in mature disciples, in new ecclesial communities and in new ministries.
First, when the Church is renewed in contemplation of Christ and the word of God, we are transformed into his likeness and become bearers of the character of Christ, becoming more clearly the Church of the Beatitudes.
Second, the new evangelization calls for a clear vision of what it means to be a disciple. In catechesis it is vital to have a clear goal before us: the formation of mature disciples able to live in the rhythm of worship, community and mission.
Third, I would encourage the Synod to reflect further on the formation of new ecclesial communities for the transmission of the faith to those who are no longer part of any church.
For the last ten years, the Church of England has actively encouraged a new movement of mission aimed at beginning fresh expressions of the church, as a natural part of the ministry of parishes or groups of parishes or dioceses.
Finally, who will be the new evangelisers? I commend further reflection on diakonia and the ministry of deacons.
The ministry of forming fresh expressions of church is rooted theologically in diakonia and the ministry of deacons: listening, loving service, and being sent on behalf of the Church. In the Church of England ordinal deacons are described as heralds of Christ's kingdom and as agents of God's purposes of love.

[00304-02.03] [DF010] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. SILUAN [Şpan], Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy (ITALY)

The proclamation of the Gospel through the Liturgy and Charity
Message from His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania

The theme of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from all over the world on Evangelization has to do with all those who bear the name of Christ (cf. Ac 2:38), since evangelization and the transmission of faith constitute at the same time a vocation and a duty for the Church and for every Christian individually.
The secularized and de-Christianized world in which we live today needs Apostles or missionaries, like the Apostles of Christ our Lord and the Holy Fathers of the Church. Once again today the first who are called on to cultivate intensely the apostolic zeal for evangelization are we Bishops of the Church of Christ, along with all the clergy and all the lay faithful.
A profound liturgical life is the principle source for the renewal of the undertaking of evangelization. The Holy and Divine Eucharistic Liturgy is at the same time both source and space for the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.
The meeting with Christ in the Holy Eucharistic Liturgy is the source of light to proclaim his charitable love and to promote the charitable work of the Church.
In other words, the spiritual life has to be the principle source of social action, so that this is not reduced to a secularized humanistic ethic. In a special way, families, parishes and monasteries that pray intensely and at the same time carry out works of charity are sources of hope and renewal for evangelization. If suffering, poverty, loneliness and social injustice often become sources of despair and violence, personal or community prayer and Christian social action become sources of hope, peace, solidarity and holiness. Holiness truly is the antidote to secularization.
We maintain therefore that the permanent link between the liturgy and charity, a fundamental trait of the holy apostolic tradition, is a great help for the evangelization of today’s generation in particular with the use of the instruments of catechesis, pastoral and missionary, adapted to the present day.
We wish Your Holiness, Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, and all the participants in the work of this Synod, the abundant help of the Lord Jesus Christ in the new work of the evangelization of today’s human society.
With profound admiration and love in Christ the Lord.

[00319-02.02] [DF012] [Original text: Italian]


The summary of the intervention is published below:

What we are ardently looking for at Taize for the thousands of young Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox of the different individuals staying with us, is to help them experience communion. The “pilgrimage of trust on earth” that we animate on the various continents has no other objective.
The search for a personal relationship with God, through the beauty of the songs, silence, the simplicity of the liturgy, is at the heart of these meetings. This ecumenism of prayer does not encourage an easy tolerance. It favors a demanding mutual listening and a true dialogue.
The division between Christians is an obstacle to the transmission of faith. For the young generations, in any given moment, it becomes irresistible to anticipate unity. When we profess Christ together, the Gospel shines in a new way in the eyes of those who have trouble believing.
In Taize, we do not want to hold the youth around us but put them into contact with the Church. Would that the local Churches, parishes, communities, the groups were above all places of communion! Places where we place our trust in the young, where we support each other mutually, but also where we are attentive to the weaker ones, to those who do not share our ideas... Hope and faith can arise when there is an experience of communion.

[00196-02.02] [SP004] [Original text: French]


“Una Bella Notizia” (“Good News”) is the title of the concert of Christian music organized by Roma Capitale in collaboration with Vatican Radio and Hope, in the setting of the day of exchange and dialogue on the occasion of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
On Thursday 18th October, after the conference on the Capitoline Hill in the morning (the program for which was published in Bulletin no. 17 yesterday), the Sinopoli Hall of the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, will host an evening for the Synodal Fathers, the other participants and anyone else who wishes to reflect on the many themes related to the new evangelization.
From 9pm onwards numerous artists will appear: Lois Kirby, solo Gospel performer; Jackie Francois and the duo “Sentinel Crew”; the Anno Domini Gospel Singers, Gospel quartet; the musical groups Nuovi Orizzonti and Carisma; Mika Kunii, contralto accompanied by the maestro Domenico Arcieri; Shalom, a singing and dancing group; the Compagnia Balletto Classico (Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanencu); Gabriella Compagnone, sand artist; Fabio Bucci and Marilú Pipitone, actors. Francesca Fialdini and Enrico Seleri will introduce the performers. Marco Brusati is in charge of the event.

[00320-02.03] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]


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